Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by heart and his friends can only read the title. ~ Virginia Woolf
Forgotten memories stream back to my mind and blind side me with rich imagery and preserved moments from the days of old. These once-forgotten instances of long-ago fly straight at me as swiftly as a bird heading directly toward my kitchen window. The sound of a bird smacking windowpane is one that makes my stomach lurch. There is nothing so awful as seeing a pair of wings fluttering wildly before hitting glass and falling to the ground. It always ends badly—either by wound or death. Memories can be like a helpless bird flying too fast toward its fate. Uncovering forgotten memories can wake us up from the present with such a profound impact that we either sail above with newfound glory or fall to our knees while writhing in pain from the despair of a darker time. We are often scarred by what has happened before now and the wounds never leave unless we try to make sense of them, perhaps involve a little therapy, and for once practice true forgiveness—not forget-ness—but forgiveness of ourselves and what once was such a stronghold in our lives. We can continue to bury the past or excavate these hard moments to reach a far greater peace about the then, and carry that reconciliation utilizing the harmony within us now as a template for tomorrow.
Daily now, the kids and I witness the same robins, cardinals, and blue jays taking their turns swooping from tree to tree. They provide us with abundant entertainment as we watch them pull new flower buds from the blooming branches and gather their fill of spring’s bounty. Quickly, they descend into the yard for a worm or two before eagerly soaring off again in pursuit of their next perching place, perhaps a bug or well-built nest. Since spring has reached us in Central Ohio, The Boy and Baby Girl spend their breakfasts in front of the bay window in our eating area searching in amusement for new types of birds and eat in awe of these amazing fowl. Just as our feathered friends take from nature the necessities for their lifelong survival and sing joyfully for their luck, visions of days past more often than not sustain and fulfill me, for they are the most natural and intricate parts of my being. Organically remembering what has been before can carry me for years to come as I use the lessons of the past for a new life and healthier, restored sense of self.
So many say that “it’s best to leave the past behind” so that we can live fully in the present. In most instances, I agree. Yet, I think there is a tremendous difference between constantly dwelling on the past, and instead making a gift out of the journey—especially when memories appear by serendipity. As I plug away at “The Book” (as I like to refer to it) I am finding that these magical discoveries of former days come to me in abundance. And when writing a creative nonfiction book, the bygone holds the golden key to the answers found in the past that have led a writer to the most precious of moments in the present day. On days like today, I welcome the past—with fondness or disdain it does not matter—today, the prior is my friend.