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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wishing My Way Back


Sometimes I "wish my way" back into the past. I reminisce about a good time -- a girl, or a place, or a car, or an adventure-- and I re-imagine all the sensations in a second-hand sort of way. Wishing my way into the past serves its purpose as it entertains me for awhile but I never want to stay there too long. Instead, I want to touch the times again to see if I can transfer any of the past emotion into today. I often attempt to capture the lovely and bring it back.

Good time relocation never works. Fond old memories have rigid boundaries that surround them. These frames restrict their movement. It's relatively easy to recall wonderful old times, but they remain deep fixtures in my brain, resistant to coming into the new reality of age 60. They remain in my mind as "once was" things of the past. Anyway, maybe they understand that they are things just too beautiful to stand the strains of transportation and the shock of rebirth.

"Wished back" good times take on a bitter-sweet existence. I can no longer understand them as totally innocent or wild or free experiences. My present perspective seems to detract from their original flavor as I relish them. They still produce pleasant reactions, but now attempting to relive them to reproduce their quality of sheer delight proves to be an impossible task. Besides, I understand no memory is capable of reanimation.

Some would say, "Never look back." I find this advice impossible to heed. As I continue to tread the paths of seniors, I long even more for old, once familiar feelings. I like the old -- the old music, the old fashions, the old friends and times. To deny this would be to be untrue to myself. Since the world increasingly lacks these things, my memories must serve as alternate realities at times, experiences I can "wish my way" back into.

Saying all of this, I still despise acting out-of-date. I don't want to live a retro existence in a vain attempt to invoke the past. But, neither do I want to be judged as an old geezer trying to act young. So, things like fashion and fads mean little to my smidgen of concern about status. Being an individual at my age is tough enough, and I really don't care how others judge me concerning some appointed place they think I should occupy in society.

But, damn it, I would like to spend some time in Peabody's Wayback Machine (For you youngsters, this reference is from a television cartoon series "Peabody's Improbable History" as shown on The Bullwinkle Show from 1964-67)  and do a little time travel. In fact, I still hold a little hope that some scientist will discover the magic needed to allow trips into the past. I have more than a few great memories I would love to relive.


To Memory by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge
Strange Power, I know not what thou art,
Murderer or mistress of my heart.
I know I'd rather meet the blow
Of my most unrelenting foe
Than live---as now I live---to be
Slain twenty times a day by thee.

Yet, when I would command thee hence,
Thou mockest at the vain pretence,
Murmuring in mine ear a song
Once loved, alas! forgotten long;
And on my brow I feel a kiss
That I would rather die than miss. 

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