Wait for evening.
Then you’ll be alone.
Wait for the playground to empty.
Then call out those companions from childhood:
The one who closed his eyes and pretended to be invisible.
The one to whom you told every secret.
The one who made a world of any hiding place.
And don’t forget the one who listened in silence
while you wondered out loud:
Is the universe an empty mirror? A flowering tree?
Is the universe the sleep of a woman?
Wait for the sky’s last blue
(the color of your homesickness).
Then you’ll know the answer.
Wait for the air’s first gold (that color of Amen).
Then you’ll spy the wind’s barefoot steps.
Then you’ll recall that story beginning
with a child who strays in the woods.
. . .
The search for him goes on in the growing
shadow of the clock.
And the face behind the clock’s face
is not his father’s face.
And the hands behind the clock’s hands
are not his mother’s hands.
All of Time began when you first answered
to the names your mother and father gave you.
Soon, those names will travel with the leaves.
Then you can trade places with the wind.
Then you’ll remember your life
as a book of candles,
each page read by the light of its own burning.
–Li-Young Lee from his collection of poems titled Behind My Eyes
I came across this poem today and it seemed fitting, especially considering a recent conversation I had with a friend and the mulling I’ve been doing over memory forging. I contemplate this a lot as I watch my children creating and shaping their histories and life patterns each day, but it’s a theme I’ve been coming back to for years. What we remember, the way memories pop up, shift in importance, can occur over the tiniest or grandest experiences, what stays, what doesn’t. It’s the stuff of imagination and the core of how we see the world. Worth considering I’d say.
***Print Muscle Memory by Johanna Winters