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What Sparks a Memory?

Spring unfolds before our eyes,

Awakening land and brightening skies,

We too emerge from cold induced rigor,

With hope of renewed vitality and vigor ~

 

While driving past a park the other day I saw something that took me back many years to my youth.  Days later I glanced down into a ravine and there it was again,  immediately transporting me back to my first year in the Pacific Northwest.

We were Florida transplants, used to seeing palm trees and the concrete houses of our neighbors through the chain link fence surrounding our suburban Miami home.  My brother, sister and I were now wilderness explorers in the woods beyond the little stream at the edge of our new back yard.  We pretended to be younger versions of Lewis and Clark, though we were more familiar with  Ponce de Leon.  We delighted in hiding among the giant evergreens, finding bouncy limbs among the alders and skunk cabbage was an exotic new discovery.

In those few split seconds that it took for my eyes to recognize the emerging pungent leafy plant, I was transported to a distant time and remembering the pleasure of childhood discovery again.  I felt that exciting sensation of being in a place where everything around you is new and full of wonder.  I am fascinated by the way our memory is tied to our senses.  How random sights, sounds, smells and even the feel of the air can cause us to recall experiences long forgotten with all their attending emotions.  To that end, even the insignificant skunk cabbage can be a source of joy.