Caretakers of the Past

We’re over halfway through August already. A few days ago, I noticed that there were some leaves scattered on the ground underneath the large tree near the top of our lawn. That particular tree does shake off its leaves in rather more of a hurry than more sedate trees tend to do, but still, it made me realise that we’re on the downhill of the year. Where has it gone?

Before I began writing this, I dipped into a handful of posts that I’d written here over the last two years or so. Looking at them again, I was grateful for the memories I’d recorded: roses, a rainbow, strangers on trains with books. Things too easily forgotten in the blur of life. And I was grateful for the thoughts that I’d shared about books I’d read—glad that I’d taken the time to process my thoughts rather than simply rushing on to the next thing.

I wrote a little piece about Bro5 for my creative writing class at the beginning of the year. I didn’t publish it on my blog, but re-reading it today after all these months, I was thankful to have stored away that that sketch of him as he is now, since it is not him as he will be in five or ten years’ time. I wish I’d written more pieces like that. Although I love him as he is, and although I’ll love him as he will be, I also loved him as he was. What a treasure it would have been to have had those vignettes of his three-year-old self and his six-year-old self too. There’s so much I’ve forgotten.

Time really does go by so fast. I can’t hold my days hostage, but if I can use words to sketch a face here, a form there, as they glide past, I’ll be able to retain something of their beauty long after they themselves have departed.

Don’t trust what you love to that traitor, memory. Words are more faithful caretakers. Entrust a little to your pen or your keyboard—a happy day, an answered prayer, an amusing story—and I think that, like me, you’ll be glad that you did.

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