The ship of memory charts the most enthralling of courses, for when it might asudden set sail, none could possibly predict. It is, I imagine, exceedingly common for friends to reminisce about the joyous moments of yore, but the solitary figure may be supposed to recall things with a certain vividness, that might dawdle behind the speedy dynamism of a conversation on memories in a group of friends. Or, unless a more nimble vividness were to succeed in enriching the conversation, it is mostly left unexpressed.
By vividness, I refer individually to those sensory inputs which are integrated into a single memory in the hippocampus. Amongst the sensory inputs may be some as uncommon as gradual changes in the atmosphere — it may safely be supposed that an enormously better part of humanity is not strongly reminded of the past were there to be a slight shift in temperature. But I should count myself in contrast to such people. Other inputs may be such common elements as fragrance and vision.
Certain occasions merit the greatest articulation of that vividness; reminiscences, say, of hiking. Cool air of the hills, or the pleasantness of a gale on a sunny afternoon experienced beneath the shade of a tree, mingled with the music of rustling leaves; such articulation enriches the reminiscence.
Imagine, however, an almost secluded and long existence, in the best of residential shires of the city, and a convivial assortment of residents therein — especially as a child.
The sun was high, the air was warm,
The verdant stretches blithe and fay,
Merrily raced a strident swarm,
Of carefree whelps in pristine play,
Tuneful notes of volant lark,
Troubadour in the light of gold,
Of damely peals and faineance stark,
Sing the fables high and old.
But it is events, then, that assume the greater importance in the conversation, and not the vivid expression of beauteous surroundings. For picturesque it might be, but the familiarity of it, unless reminisced about at a distance alike in time and geography, does not much enrich the reminiscence, and might instead serve altogether to vitiate it. And yet, in solitary saudade, I cannot but think alike of events and of friendly clime.
That perceptible summer warmth has now set in in the air of the city I call home; although, being true to myself, I should not pretend to love the whole of the city, and refer instead to the sheltered and moderately affluent enclave where I dwell. The warmth alone suffices to commend pleasant memories to my reminiscence; of playing both in the morning and the evening to the immense consternation of our mothers, who would constantly be worried that immoderate subjection to the heat might result in a bleeding nose. I was never an unfortunate victim, but some friends happen to have experienced it. The tranquil afternoons would be spent either in earnest anticipation of the evening joy, or at friends’ homes watching movies (I mostly avoided such crowds). Our sudoriferous selves, after the evening play, would not but delight in the cold shower.
One cannot but reminisce about those days with a maudlin lens, for with increasing age is dusked the grade of carefree joy.