Monday, June 11, 2012

Fuzzy Recollections

I suspect we all have them: memories that are nowhere near complete. Things we've seen or interacted with that remain nothing more than a sort of fuzzy, cobwebbed memory of something from our past. For me, those imperfect reminders are naught but bits and pieces that seem to have no beginning and no end. They just are. I don't know what came before nor what went after. My only recall is that fraction of time in which my brain logged something in but forgot to save all the details surrounding the event.

I know I've seen the Aurora Borealis. I know I was little and the night was as black as night can be, so I know we weren't in a town but likely on vacation in Northern Minnesota--my parents favorite get-away.  I vividly remember seeing glowing pink and green lights streaking across the sky. Not moving. Just sitting there. I remember my dad pointing at the lights and telling me how lucky we were to see them because they were rare where we lived. I recall he told me they were The Northern Lights. End of  memory

While I don't remember having a dog, I do recall
one short moment inside the cabin.
I know my parents had a cabin by a lake because as I grew up, I heard tales about going there on weekends. I recall a night when we drove and drove and stopped in front of a dark building. Mom carried me inside and set me in a chair. All I recall is that the walls were wood; the fireplace of stone. End of memory. Years later, when I told mom I remembered that cabin, she took issue with me, saying it was impossible as I was only eighteen months old. But I know what I know. Even today, I could draw a fuzzy semblance of what I saw from the chair she sat me in. Isn't the mind an awesome entity?

Dad and me at seven, during happier times
I remember that my dad took me hunting with him when I was about seven, I recall it was a sunny, winter day and the snow wasn't deep, just pretty. I definitely recall walking through the woods. As I think back, I'm pretty sure I had no idea what "hunting" entailed. I was just with my dad and having a good time. I stopped to watch a cute gray squirrel playing in the snow. Then there was the most horrific noise, almost ear deafening. While I was trying to figure out what had happened, I saw the squirrel laying beneath the tree and blood on the snow. End of memory. I was an adult with grown children when my dad told me the rest of the story. I'd gotten hysterical to the point where he couldn't stop my crying, screaming, and running wild. Little as I was, I was more than dad could handle. He said he drove me home, handed me off to my mom and said, "Here, you do something with her; I can't."  I remember nothing after seeing the blood on the snow. Even telling me the details brought back no memory. What I've come to after all these years is that a child who absolutely adores animals should not be exposed to hunting them, that the reason I hated the book Bambi was because the story was too real to what I knew, and that my intense fear of guns stems back to when I was a child.

I absolutely do not remember falling into the lake. What I do recall is that I was about 8 or 9 and we were at our favorite vacation resort. I saw fish swimming by the dock that went far out into the water so I took a cane pole I saw lying on the dock and thought I'd catch some fish to eat. I remember that the line had a hook and a bobber, but the hook would only float on top the lake. I kept reaching out further and further with the end of the pole, trying to push the hook under water. I remember quite vividly putting my toes far over the edge of the dock, trying to extend my reach. End of memory. When I came to, I was lying on the dock and a whole bunch of people were standing over me. Since I'd been the only person on the dock at the time, I was told that someone had seen me fall in and rushed to pull me out. I have no recollection of falling in or thrashing around or swallowing water. Mom always told me that I drowned that day so I've always been grateful that someone pulled me out and got me breathing again.

Sometimes I wonder how many more cobwebbed recollections my brain bank holds. I've heard that times of trauma wipe out the memory, but most of my fuzzy memories don't stem from any kind of trauma. What I have come to believe is that the human mind is mostly unexplainable. The brain saves bits and pieces of information but not always the whole story. Intriguing, isn't it? Especially since I know that some of my hazy memories are from my very young childhood.

I suspect each of us has cobwebbed recollections residing in our memory. Recollections that do not tell a whole story, yet reveal to us that we lived through something we barely remember. What sort of fuzzy reflections do you have? Write and tell me about them.

1 comment:

  1. I have a lot of memories like this. I call them snippets of memories. Lots about my grandmothers who died when I was young. Most of them are good memories and I hold them dear. The mind is an amazing thing isn't it?