Using our minds, we can peer at moments from the past, like clicking thru snapshots on a view finder (yes I am old!). These memories may even carry emotions back with them, but we are still remembering with our minds. Compare this to those that are stored in our sense organs, the ones powerful enough to bring the past back and plop it right down in front of us.
For instance, thoughts about my mother my bring warm, loving feelings, but if I remember through the cells of my hand I can feel how it felt to hold her aging hand in mine – the coolness of it, and how it seemed to have gotten smaller and how the bones protruded more -this remembering brings with it a longing to feel her touch again; and memories of watching my father comb his gorgeous hair in the bathroom mirror are just images in my mind, but give me a whiff of his cologne, Aqua Velva, and poof he is in the room with me (I keep a bottle in my medicine cabinet just for this reason) ; or images of my dog, Johnnie, waiting to greet me when I came home - I can see his sweet face, but if I remember through my skin I can feel the softness of his fur, and just for an instant he is back in my arms; and I can think of pizza and imagine how it would taste but walking by a pizza shop, on a warm summer’s night, transports me back to giggling with my girlfriends, at the church carnivals of my youth.
What a precious gift we possess, to be able to live in the present but touch the past, and just for the briefest of moments, hold it in our hearts.
Your turn – what memories come to life for you when you hear, smell, see, taste, or touch the past?