Have I always lusted for the past? Always longed to walk down Rouen Avec une baguette in tow. Always wished my present moment Were coloured and blushed With the pigment of nostalgic memory Glossed with centuries-old ink. Do the shards of heartbreak fester like a quill Or does the spirit heal over them? Dissolving like glass into glass. Until the vase's cracks have reached perfection. Stained windows, glowing in the moonlight. A great intelligence, cursed by a speck of sadness.
Looking back on pictures of summers past, it’s easy to romanticize a one-time trip as an every year occurrence during a period of our time: childhood, adolescence…
But then again, don’t we go back into our pasts every-time we reflect on our memories? I read in a Psychology Today article that there are two kinds of selves: the ‘experiencing’ self and the ‘remembering’ self. The experiencing self is the part of our conscious awareness that is here in the moment while the remembering self is the part of our consciousness that creates a record of what we did. The main difference between the two is that when we remember an event in our lives, we then experience it as it happened when we lived through it, as it was recorded by our remembering self. As a Psych major, it’s nothing new to view memory as something immediate; we’re all an aggregate of our pasts, presents and futures – a part of us always as who we were, as we are, and as we are to become. I like to look at history that way, as a path or passage and not merely a passenger upon it.
As I look at these photos again of great times with cousins on Mayne Island I can’t help but feel like this always happened. I’m sure this feeling will only get reinforced in the years to come, but that’s what makes the philosophy of life – that it is ultimately about our memories made – so attractive.
Maybe it’s that dichotomous relationship with our realities that can so torment us; we always have a half in the past and a half in the present. One that is here and one that has stepped behind, hoping to disappear into our memories of summers past. But the same torment that can come from days gone by can also breed within us the great fire of hope that tomorrow will bring reprieve. That tomorrow will be different. That tomorrow will be the same.
Today the breeze carries with it the hot sauna winds that only barely remind me of the ocean it came from, more of the desert it goes to. The car is warm and comforting, the air conditioning is cool. There is a wasp in my bathroom who knows just where to fly so I can let her out through the window screen. Car stereos audibly pass by with the windows down, children are dressed in neon colours, a blueberry yogurt bubbletea strikes the tongue ever so gently in the perfect cascade of lemon, blueberry, sour, tart and sweet. Like a long street strung with cherry blossoms, it’s Summer.
There is a certain wave of energy that comes by this town when Summer is truly here. When the schools are out but filled with summer students, when the 7/11 is busier than the gas station, when the indoors are emptier than the city park, despite the A/C. Everyone seems to make use of the outdoors, now injected with the infatuation of beach volleyball, beach soccer, and especially beach parties. Department stores are filled with brightly coloured boogie boards, and ice cream men are expediting fudgsicles, creamsicles, and the legendary rainbow pop. This is the time when barbecues replace all other forms of cooking and where every city block smells a little bit like smoke and a little bit like chow time.
I remember hot summer days when Grandma would give us Watermelon Pops, old time popsicles that were mostly succulent pink with a layer of green frozen concoction to mimic an edible watermelon rind. All throughout the fleshy melting syrup were little pockets of black chocolate cookie seeds that tasted just like dry ice, or to our little mouths: heaven.
No this year in Vancouver, Lady Summer has not forgotten us at all. She’s just taken her sweet time getting here.