It’s been said that smell can trigger memories better than anything else. I’m sure that can be linked to the animal portion of our brains – some survival mechanism whose main purpose is forgotten, long ago replaced by logic and reason. While that may be true, I find it takes a far back seat to music for really dredging up the past.
There’s a CD case that stands against the wall in the other room, one of those glue, sawdust and wood-grain sticker deals, pretty much untouched since it was moved there years ago. It’s an artifact of a bygone age, and I can’t tell you the last time I slid a disc out for a listen. The truth is I’m a bit afraid to. The thing is a mausoleum, each dusty compartment holding a little bit of my past encapsulated with its musical accompaniment. Stacked one atop the other, with just a fraction of an inch worth of space between them, lay the polycarbonate corpses of my lost decade. There are a few happy times in the stack along the left side. Lots of loss on the top right, just above the melancholy. Then there is ‘her’ section. We’ll leave her out of this. The point is, the music was always playing back then, and to listen to it now doesn’t come without a price. It’s amazing what the brain can throw back at you with the proper stimulus, and how an old memory can still make you feel a bit of unease years after its interment.
Well, certainly memory is a curious machine and strangely capricious. It has no order, it has no system, it has no notion of values, it is always throwing away gold and hoarding rubbish. -Mark Twain
Anyway, I’m cautious touching the thing for all it might rattle loose. Remember what happened when they cracked the lid on the Ark? Not that all the memories entombed there are bad, but truth be told, the bad tend to be more sticky. At least during that era. I’m not sure why I haven’t gotten rid of the damn thing.
That’s the odd thing about nostalgia, and revisiting the past whether by choice or errant thought. It’s the part people may forget. By its very meaning, there’s some pain involved. In fact, for a time it was considered a disease; one serious enough to lead to death (allegedly), usually afflicting soldiers unable to go home. But I ask you friend, are we all not soldiers at war with our pasts at one time or another?
Back to the front.