It is that time of year when memories are strong. Perhaps in the wind down to Xmas there is more space for them to come into our minds. My memory bank was activated today, and I started to ponder. What are the ingredients of a memory and the recipe for the creation of a strong and lasting memory?
Thinking about memory, the slide carousel of my mind starts to whirl. Every memory I conjure is a slide, a slice of life, a freeze frame of a moment that evolves into the replay of a film as the moment and the memory grows.
Sat here reminiscing, my memories flood back unaided without the prompts of smells or sounds. They are all visual and I gradually add the soundtrack if it is required. The silent pictures and movies are the strong important memories. It is the action not the words, places not prose that re-capture the moment for me.
None of my memories are staged managed or directed. The scene may have been set; location, clothes, the events, I remember are unscripted moments in a tableau. As I pull forward the momentous memories I realise they have small parts, the trigger points or anchors in my mind:
– a funeral – stripy tights falling down the stairs
– a wedding – the bouquet hides the plastered arm
– a birth – being called on the tannoy
– a wake – kneeling on the orange patterned carpet
– a divorce – sat on the daffodil duvet, talking on the phone
– a different wedding – white asparagus and a grey soft jumper
– another funeral – crying in the car park of a Scottish crematorium
– a second birth – small hands clutching the carry cot handle
– a meeting – denim skirt and blue jacket perched on stools.
My mind creates sets of memories, like suits of playing card, a pair, three of a kind, snaps. The roll of images expands, a boxed set, all uncut they tumble in.
As my memories roll past, it is exciting to realise that the set if never complete. I have plenty of space in my mind shelves to gather and store so many more moments of joy, triumph and tragedy as well as the marvellous and the mundane.