Living in a Memory

We are living in a memory, said my youngest brother. He spoke this at random as we sat on the auburn beach of the lake I’ve swam in since I was a child. Quietly, we adults contemplated this sage comment, a comment made that much more profound by his seven innocent years.

Every moment eventually becomes a memory. Indeed, that moment at the lake is already a memory, cached in my mind, hazing over with time. Bradley was right, and I realize: why cling to memories when the present is only a moment away from becoming a memory itself? Memory heaping upon memory—too many to hold on to. Indeed, our hearts are not strong enough to carry the past. I think I am finally learning this, for when I try to collect and carry my many sweet childhood memories, the weight is too great; it hurts too much. I need not forget, but I must let go. I must live only in the moment. I believe the same is for anyone, perhaps especially for those with painful childhood memories.

I have returned to the island. Contrary to what I thought, my visit to Saskatchewan did not end up being my last two weeks of childhood. Strange, to do what I once did—garden, ride, swim, play—and yet not as a child longing to never leave behind those days, nor as an adult longing to return to them. I am quite content to have grown up, to live on the red island, to love Nicholas, even as I value the past as much as the present. For I realize it was my childhood that stair-stepped me to where I am now.

Yes, we must value the past, but we must not miss out on the moment for a memory, for soon enough this very moment will also be among the memories we strain to hold on to. I am grateful to have returned to the island, to Nicholas, with new memories of the home of my family, a place that incubates not all I long to return to, but what I love for all it has been to me and will continue to be.

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