The Light Keepers – Memory and Imagination
They came down from the sky to alight on the shore, and left their hieroglyphic tracks pressed in the sand. I followed them to the sea.
They gathered in the shoal where decades ago my children played as toddlers. The surf receded, the clouds parted, and the sun displayed her spectrum of colors on the wet sand. A moment later residual water evaporated, and the colors vanished.
Seven birds suspended in hues of splendor and grace. For a moment past and present interlaced in a beatific trinity of color, experience and happy memory. A flash just long enough to germinate an idea for my painting, Light Keepers.
I visited my good friend Wally last Sunday. Memory, he said. Of all the moments of our lives, why do we suddenly remember a moment from decades ago? What causes us to remember that one particular moment?
What will kids remember when they have their eyes glued to a screen all the time, unaware of their surroundings? Will their memories be of virtual rather than natural worlds?
As we sat on his back porch overlooking the water, I studied my oldest friend’s face for a moment. His daughter Emily sat beside him, his cat Loki curled on a chair in the corner in the April afternoon sun. I wondered if any of us would remember that Sunday afternoon.
Perhaps moments are like transient tracks of birds. Lost to time unless someone takes notice. Do birds and cats have memories?
My earliest memory is from the age of 2 or 3. My younger sister and I shared a room with a colorful parakeet. And I remember walking home from kindergarten at the age of 4, aware of all the wild birds. Perhaps it is why birds have always fascinated me.
I wonder what my children will remember of their youth.
How about you? What are your earliest memories?