Monday, April 21, 2008

no more memories needed?

i put this as a question. to myself, of course. since i have to move again this fall, the options open up. and that's what i love, and fear. (we moved thirty times by my graduation from high school.)

this, perhaps, is why i never really wanted children of my own. ie. i mean to raise, since we never own them and they ultimately abandon us, as we've taught them to do. a life-partner, even, ruled out of the equation, though i tried. how could i have acted on impulse? lived without much money? (our family in debt the whole time i was growing up. the result of idealism, serving others.) to me a family meant doing lots of things you didn't want to do, life slipping away.

now, i have the memories i desired. bits and shreds from forty countries, and that doesn't include dreams. for example, china a big hole in my travels, along with south america and africa. (tangiers and costa rica, close but no banana. japan twice, yet not quite the continent.) that said, a moment ago i looked at a picture book on the great wall. one village perched high above a river appeared to be the one i visited in a dream forty years ago. hmm, maybe that trip more real than many so achingly experienced.

yes, it's anxiety that makes us remember things. and someone said, 'memory is incomplete experience.' in a book called 'is there life after high school?' the author posited we remember high school so vividly cause it was more painful than anything else in our lives! that's true, except, perhaps for travel, if you go the way i've gone, buses and backpacks and cheap lodgings. is our life most our own when we're lonely? that seems completely possible. the guru osho says we belong to ourselves only when we're between thoughts, and that's meditation, nirvana. certainly, time collapses and telescopes when we're on the road, a week in a dusty asian city equals five years of comfort in a suburb.

of course, this was all part of a plan. to use my time up, to have so many memories i'd be comfortable departing for the final journey. unfortunately, as e.m. cioran says, 'thoughts of dying comfort us on the way to grave, but they don't help us when death is on the doorstep.' we'd like to be free of the burden of tension, however it's that very pull of gravity which makes us feel alive.

mostly i think i will miss my memories, or at least, i think it's a shame they will disappear when i do. if i add to the pile, am i merely creating more loss for myself? and do i need to go anywhere? the appearances around us are more mysterious than we think. gary winograd said, 'i take pictures to see what things look like photographed.' somehow i like to discover the true nature of an event afterwards, rather like a japanese tourist, looking at the parthenon when i get home. no, it's not quite like that, cause i tend to dissolve the present in a bath of memory and agony to arrive at a spectral interpretation. some might call it a vision. look at to see what i mean.