Sunday, May 10, 2009
It's an oddity of memory that we readily call to mind what went wrong not right. It's easier to recall my mother's foibles than her generosity and warmth; easier to recall her politely snide criticisms of neighbors, friends, and relatives than her dedication to do both well and good; to recall her fatigues and complaints than her boisterous high spirits. But as John Updike pointed out, in a poem I've lost and can't reclaim, this quirk has advantage for us if we can let the strong memory bring forth the weaker and positive associations. I try to accept squirmy recollections as conduits to remembered smiles and shared laughter. Sitting in my hard pew just now I noticed newly-formed scabs from the small wounds the rose bush gave me as I cut off blossoms for a little breakfast bouquet this bright and cheerful morning.