Friday, September 7, 2012

if memory serves

well, it often doesn't.
memory is a prickly thing, quite arrogant, determined to show us only what it chooses to.
it colors itself, it deletes and distorts, and it seems to have but a solitary perspective.
it paints pictures that are unidimensional.
it embellishes.
it tells different stories at different times, and yet we tend to take it as gospel.
it creates for us pasts that we might wish had happened, or pasts that unsettle us and prohibit future growth.
it tells us things were bigger, taller, stronger, smaller, weaker, nonexistent, omnipotent.
it doesn't always serve us well.

I confuse one day with another, one hill with another, one ride with another.  I remember a sign, but think it was on a different street.  I remember a climb as being of a certain grade, and then find, the next time, it's not that way at all.

what brings this to mind is my upcoming 206-mile ride, lotoja.  I've ridden this route 5 times now.
the first time it was all new to me.
the second time a good 80 percent felt new to me:  I was astounded by how much I did not remember.
the third time much more was familiar, but many places weren't at all.
the last two times I've been surprised by how my memories of what was--and my expectations of what was to come--were not always accurate.

I suppose what we all need to understand is that our memories do serve:  they just happen to be self-serving and unique to us.  if we remember to let each have their own and not insist upon our own versions of what was, we should all be able to play nicely with each other.

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