Sunday, 5 March 2017
Memory at Work
Watching St Mirren score early on against one half of the evil twins brought back to mind a similar goal I saw scored in 1962, long before you and I were born. Not only did it bring back to mind the goal it brought with it the very essence of the day also. For a second I could 'feel' the atmosphere, smell the glossy programme and the embrocation cream then used to lubricate players before a game and tasted again the very ambience of the day. For a second I saw the blue sky and bright green grass, again I was sensing the surroundings, then new to me, again I experienced for a brief moment the exciting experience of that day long a now gone all because of memory. I remember also the six goals which we went on to score and note St Mirren and also now losing!
It never fails to amaze me just how much we have stored away in memory and also how difficult it is to retrieve it when required. Just listen to BBC's 'Brain of Britain' and note how often you know the answers to a question but cannot find it in that large brain box of yours. It takes merely the slightest fragrance from a Hyacinth plant and I am back in Primary School, cross a muddy field and the sweetish grass brings me back to Lying face down in a goalmouth, not always successfully, a song might bring to mind good days or bad and a photograph from times past can fill the mind with memories of a place.
What returns easiest, good memories or bad ones?
Tiredness can bring to mind the memories of failure and regret that are not wanted, tiredness rarely brings good thoughts let alone good memories. Looking back people tend to consider life was better in the past, are they deliberately forgetting the bad things or just deluding themselves? All too often it is age that makes us remember the energy we once had, the hopes and dreams that no longer register in the mind, maybe that is why the past appears better even though at the time we grumbled so often.
Repressing memories can be hard on us.
I recall a lass who had many problems, a young thing with too much arthritis in her bones and no memory of early days. One thoughtful woman considered she had been a battered baby and possibly this accounted for the problems, and she had many problems. Closing the mind can keep us sane but there comes a time when we need to be freed from certain memories.
On the other hand many who lived through war have memories they do not wish to bring to mind. Guilt for actions taken in stressful times, sights seen and hard to forget, pain and suffering endured all lead to a refusal to face the memories, and who can blame them? Some memories are hard to face and it is likely we all have them to some degree.
These are all old photographs taken long ago before digital was available and because I never left the abode once today, rain and appallingly poor football keeping me inside. Each picture is a memory, of a wander in Kensington Gardens where pigeon dodging is part of walking along the pathways, a stone cat somewhere on the south side of the Thames reminds me of my lost ability to walk for miles in strange places seeking new sights. The old railway, which one day soon I might get to see if the rain goes away, the sun shines early and I can get the knees to work the bike again, the old railways and the long gone gate that vandals destroyed for a laugh and the Rangers never bothered to repair brings good memories and two Penguins haughtily enduring my camera while stinking of fish when I last visited Edinburgh Zoo a hundred years ago. All good memories, I keep the bad ones to myself.