Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Dream Well Lived

It comes so naturally to most of us; we forget how eerie and strange is our ability to recall.  The memories we keep in our mind are ours alone and are like one-of-a-kind items in a smart boutique.  Our memories are not to be compared to anyone else's and stay in our mind like stalactites in the darkness of a cave; but flash a light on one of them, and it plays itself like a melody replayed on demand at an encore performance on the stage of our life.

There is something magical and so taken for granted in the huge store of events suspended in our lifetime. Often my sister tells me "Don't you remember?"  And I remember, but not exactly the same way she does. Sometimes an event that we both lived together is remembered differently.  Life and our personality has filtered what we stored.  Our memories are not only unique, they are made of all the things we have paid attention to or that caught our interest.  The rest is remembered, maybe, or left to the passing of time and is easily forgotten like doves flying away from us.  We recall what we loved and most often remember what we abhorred.

Remembering needs often a trigger.  Something like a song, a smell, a face of our past, a sight, a sensation deeply felt.  It soars then in our mind like a kite in the wind, lightly sometimes or with the power to overwhelm us.

I remember living in Lima, Peru and walking with my kids on the beach.  Lots of little pebbles made all sorts of clicking sounds as we walked.  The waves crashed on the beach. We came upon a little trickle of water running off from the hill above and small fish swam in the enticing little pool at its bottom.  It was so unexpected.  We found a cup and brought some of the fish home for our aquarium and settled them in.  I remember coming to the kitchen where we kept them the next day and seeing nothing in the aquarium but the newcomer fish who had eaten the domesticated ones. 

Then there are rite of passage memories, like kissing our first boyfriend, bathing in the ocean or having our first babies, smelling their scent and sniffing their skin or kissing our parents and the feeling of their no longer young skin, so soft it seems like butter.  Or getting married or divorced; those moments that come in full force and that haunt us for life.

Our ability to recall is sometimes fading, or disappear as we age.  Like Alzheimer's patients who look at their family and do not remember them.  The absolute horror of it.  It seems like a whole range of our life is lost when our memory goes.  Forgetting our loved ones is saying goodbye to so many days of our life when we were happy and laughed or were angry or hurt, inspired or lazy but fully conscious.  Our life goes in a dark hole of the mind and we are subject to live strictly in the present minute.

Our memories trace for us a path that we embrace as we grow and learn, become more of our true nature and face new moments to enrich ourselves.  We recall, to relive our trajectory, correct its course, to know who we are, who we have been, or who we want to become.  To sort through people we have met and save time for our best friends or the ones that make our soul soar.

It is not enough to remember; it is just as important to trace our future and cry over what is gone and smile at the days as they collect and create more moments to savor and bring up someday to our mind as a dream well lived.

2010 Copyright Micheline Brierre
Editing by Barry Kaplan


  1. Often I have thought that my brother and I were raised by different parents, though we lived in the same house. My snapshots of memory are quite different than his. Mine took me into therapy and he moves happily along with few cares. Now I have to smile because I have begun to replace the sadder images with all the happier times. Is this what aging does to us? We mellow with the passage of time? Thank God for this kindness.

    And yes, I have vivid memories of childhood, the teen years and the twenties. It's almost like yesterday. I can remember the most intimate of thoughts and take myself back to first dates. Does anyone remember the after shaves "Jade East" and "English Leather"? Gosh--it takes me back to the awkwardness of getting to know a fellow that eventually became my first boyfriend. How about those strange "lines" that guys were fond of pulling: Wanna go to the submarine races? Want to go grunnion hunting? (I lived in the desert) Oops, the car won't start (after they had removed the distributor cable). Or when we got to borrow the parents' car for the prom with the "built-in" record player for 45s? Imagine the shock when my boyfriend pulled out a motel key on the night of the prom--expecting something. Wow! I was completely flabbergasted with all this new stuff. No, I didn't go. How presumptuous he was.

    I appreciate all the anticipation I had for holidays and birthdays. They are such special times for families, especially ours. To this day, every holiday carries with it boatloads of memories. Most of them would wow the ordinary person. It's not that we had much while growing up--but, those times were so elevated from our daily lives. The smallest gift became the "king's ransom". We were easily pleased and delighted. I want to hold onto those memories and keep them forever.

    My lovely memories help console my heart and soul when I think of my parents who have now passed on. Brother Randy and I now share the holidays and birthdays--and try to carry on our family traditions. Some things have changed...Santa Claus doesn't slide down the chimney anymore--and I'm not waking up the household at 5 a.m. on Christmas morning. But we continue to delight in sharing our lives and enjoy the privilege of companionship.

  2. I enjoy and often marvel at your uncanny manner of writing about sensitive issues, those having to do with our emotions and feelings, what we think, what we do and how we respond to certain stimuli. You write of simple everyday things which unvariably have complex roots since they deal with our inner sense of being. You open the subject gracefully and artfully lead the reader into his or her own intimate world of feelings and experiences. Well done. Kudos! Charlie

  3. Dear Micheline;
    I so enjoyed this writing-"blog" just doesn't give it enough honor. I have
    read "Gadgets", "Happiness" and writings prior to this. You share such a
    gift in such a unique way and I am grateful that you are in my life.