Memory is such a funny thing. Sometimes, it can unfold like a hug, embrace you in the present, then retreat, leaving you feeling like you've just been soaked in the first warm rays of early Summer.
While walking to preschool this morning, my son started taking big, quick steps to match my bigger, quicker steps. "That's a Ranger walk! That's what GrandDad used to call walking like that." I flashed back to when I was his age, and my Army Ranger Dad would double time on a hike, making me giggle and run to keep up.
A little while later, I walked out to the paddock in the too-crisp Spring air to get a new horse for my lesson. He is the exact horse that I dreamed about--huge, sweet, gray, forelock falling into his eyes, gentle, his canter eating up the ground. I flashed back to the countless hours I spent doodling a horse that looked like Veron as I circled the currycomb and tacked him up.
But memory can come out of nowhere and smack you in the face, too. It can come out of nowhere, sneaking in from the past, and slap you hard, leaving you feeling like you've been pushed into a cold pool.
Early this morning I asked my husband if he'd like to drive up to a certain city to meet my extended family there for a baseball game. I'd been gently pestering him for a few weeks, dancing in the space between reminding and nagging with my request. Finally, he shot me a nasty look and a cold quip that reminded me that I had hurt him long ago, and that city brought up bad memories I'd forgotten about. I'd done my best to abandon and forget those horrible times--until that moment. BAM.
Sometimes I'd like to be in charge of my memory, to be able to enter my brain and un-remember painful or heartbreaking, ugly or difficult moments. I'd like to just remember the good stuff. Can I run my whole Memory through a strainer, letting the big, happy things remain in the bowl while the heavy other crap drain through, never to be seen or heard or felt again?
Then again, what is life but a mix of it all.