Memories always seemed like something that I look at but don’t truly dig into. They’re something to be experienced and then let go. But as I dig into myself and my memories I’ve discovered something almost surreal: Memories are portals.
Or perhaps more aptly they are pools which shimmer and shine and reflect who you are while just below the surface you can glimpse something moving along with an invisible yet familiar current. As you reach your hand down to touch that pool you can watch the ripples radiating out from your fingertips, which just barely broke the surface and wait, hesitating, trembling, on the edge of breaking the surface completely … deciding haltingly whether to shift the balance of atmosphere and liquid.
When the plane is broken I stand staring at the reflection of someone younger and watch as the images change and swirl with the ripples in the surface. I feel that I am witnessing something truly magical which can absorb all of my attention and interest – a television that plays only for me and shows me parts of my past which I can become absorbed in. Lost in thought and ruminating upon the person I was as if we iwere different people.
All around me are pools of shimmering possibility. I’m standing in a cavern which seems to go on endlessly. It is dark but not as dark as it should be for having no lights – the pools create enough illumination to extend the range of my vision in all directions. Some of the pools shine more brightly than others, but all are the same size.
I can walk in any direction and when I come upon a pool I mark its location so I can come back to it someday. But until now I thought that they were only pools. Shimmering and fluid mirrors that showed me the past trapped inside them. Now I know better. Now I know that they are portals.
Dip your fingers a little lower into the pool. It feels for a moment as if your fingers are being surrounded by water and then you realize it was only the sensation of breaking through the surface to the other side. That initial sensation of liquid surrounding your fingers being in truth the surface bending with you until finally you break through and find yourself on the other side – suddenly in a place which feels strange and familiar and impossible: you are in the past.
Memories are more than just a reflection. They act as a portal into the past. A touchstone to the places you’ve been and the times you’ve been. Exploring them fully could take and entire lifetime.
As I write of my memories I find that my challenges with recalling the past are but illusory obstacles which I’ve placed before myself to prevent the world of the past from completely overwhelming me. Imagine every moment in your life faithfully captured and accessible in your mind. The concept to me is terrifying in its allure.
I dig into my memories and find that they are whole worlds which I can explore and experience. The world of memory is one of places and things and as you walk around it and explore its details and crevices you come upon the tethers of other portals which you can touch and bring to life around you … at the risk of being instantly brought to a different time and perhaps a different place.
But in the end the pools have a limitation. Perhaps it is simply one I have created to protect myself or perhaps there is some other limitation that I am unaware of. The pools cannot be visited indefinitely. The world which exists below the soft surface layer of my mind are ones which quickly and easily repulse the visitor. As if submerged lightly beneath the water I find that I cannot help but float up to the surface and, having done so, lose sight of the beautiful things I have been looking at underneath, only to find their shadows or an imagined simulacrum in their place if I dip my head below again.
An ocean of coral beauty lies below the surface, but blink and it shifts in a way which makes it a stranger to you again.
But what if the pools could be further explored? What if you could fully immerse yourself in them? Would it truly then be memories? Or would it become something more? Something like time travel.
Relax. Take a deep breath. And slip into a pool.