Memory Keeper

beijing1We stood at the edge of summer as we held the last glimpse of the setting sun. We were up in the Canadian Rockies overlooking the city of Banff. The views were stunning, the scent of pine so heady as it drew me into a meditative state. I looked over at Mike and said, “This is so beautiful, I can’t believe I don’t have my camera with me to capture all of this.” I’ll never forget his response, “You don’t need a camera, take a good look and soak in what you are seeing, take a snapshot with your mind, it will now be with you forever.”  We stood quietly for a few moments, taking in this decadent scene drenched with emotion. The image now etched inside of me. It is one of my all time favorite memory files that I draw from whenever I feel the need. I don’t look at it that often, but whenever I do all the same feelings and views come rushing back and I find myself once again standing on that mountainside watching the setting sun. I carry so many of these snap shots inside of me. In many ways they hold more treasure and value then my tangible photos. In my memory I can hear the sounds, smell the fragrance in the air, feel the temperature, the vulnerability, the heartbeat of it all. I sat quietly this morning as I dusted off some of these old memory files. I was quite surprised at the flood of emotion that came spilling out with very little prompting. It was a "life flashing before my eyes" sort of moment, but in a good way. All at once my 5 year old self was standing beside my Memere (Grandmother) as she let me help her bake peanut butter cookies, iceskating on a frozen pond and drinking hot chocolate, crying in first grade because I wanted to go home, riding on the tractor with my Dad and him looking me in the eyes and him telling me how much he loved me, the first time I saw the NY City skyline at night, The green grass of Holland, the lace on my dress, seeing Mike for the first time as he walked by me holding a pizza, my grandmothers wedding band that was so big on her thin aged fingers, looking into my Mother’s eyes after leaving my Aunt’s funeral and her saying, “I have now buried each one of my family members.” Oh, I could go on and on. If I were to see these photos in tangible imagery the depth would be lost. Our memories, these clips of time make up a powerful part of who we are. As my mother recently said to me, “After we lose someone we love, our memories are all we have left of them.” That is so true. Having lost friends and family members recently I often find myself replaying the sound of their voice, remembering the way they laughed, recounting the smallest moments and the minutest details. Holding tightly to the memories for a chance to once again experience their essence. As I sit and write my heart is deep with emotion. This is where my treasure is.