art detail

What is it that makes life past flooding in at the most unexpected moments? I have a lot of it recently. I cuddled in my bed surrounded by a comfy comforter and all of the sudden I found myself in a small cabin in the middle of nowhere in Alaska wrapped in the similar comforter in the arms of a past lover. Happy memory. I can smell the wood in the woodstove and remember putting his Birkenstocks on to go outside to pee in a snow bank. I remember listening to “Man at Work” CD. I remember him cooking the shrimp stir-fry. Me writing a paper (I was in grad school then) while he was cooking and making him watch “The Lost Boys” (which although seemed magical when I was 19 turned out to be rubbish when I was 30). And then I remember the heartbreak which was awful and put me into a deep manic state for a year. But that was after the “happy.” I moved to NYC to go to Parsons for grad school and he stayed in Alaska. We tried to phone each other but on the phone, I found myself with nothing to say. I hate phones. They are so impersonal in spite of hearing each other’s voice. Something happens to me. I freeze. I never had a phone before I moved to the USA. Maybe I am just not used to it. But that is really beside the point.

The other day I found myself in the middle of the field, again in Alaska, by my cabin (yes, with an outhouse) by the lake the name of which I think was Ballain while walking my dog in Tanasbourne, OR on a nature trail. The memory was so acute that I could smell the fall of the birch leaves and feel the frost on my face. That was another happy one because it was one of my favorite places to hike.

I won’t write about bad memories. They don’t deserve the attention. They are in the past and smell sour. And I would like to keep them there in spite of them trying to surge to the surface. I let them pass through me, acknowledge them and move on. (Does not always work, but I keep trying).

There are countless more moments like these happening every day. I revisit my life in NYC, I revisit my life in Humboldt, I revisit my life in Alaska (the dearest one to my heart).

I don’t know why these madeleines surface now. I have never experienced them until this year. But they are there. They come unbidden and they float like clouds on a rainy day. What does it mean? I grow older? My life here in Oregon is boring so I compensate recollecting the happenings of more excitement from the past? Or is it just a simple retrospection of where I’ve been and what I have done to validate the fact that I had a life? Period.


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