Reflections on Memory

Updated: Dec 5, 2019

As I recall and flesh through anecdotes, creating “our story” for upcoming posts, I recognize ironies, metaphors, and insights into me—into us—and despite pundit warnings about woulda-shoulda-couldas, I find reflecting is a way to learn about myself and my beloved before we are no longer of this world.


At the time of this writing, and because the boomer subject of memory boomerangs all around us, what primes this inner pathos is realizing memory is all we have.


It's like this: when awakened from an intriguing dream, I—perhaps like you—try to remember its highlights. I even keep a pad and pen under my pillow to scrawl key words in the dark. My dreams and stormy fantasies, like yours, are shaped by my mind’s Magic 8-ball of past realities. They surface in a scramble of images and dialogue, creating a new dreamy narrative. Since I fear many realities will be lost to forgetting, jotting down even magical ones seems worthy.


I believe time whizzes in your later decades and memories—these un-opened presents, these objective correlatives, these treasures of wizened observations—thrust us a step forward into posterity. Pathetic and real and eternal, it seems intrinsically necessary to remember—and to communicate before it is too late. Of course belief in an afterlife assuages this dialectic, but I am not persuaded.


And yes, these words will be lost in cyberspace, the artifacts tossed in a closet, eventually buried under outgrown or old clothes, tossed again in a bin, buried with trash, and if you’re lucky tossed as compost on tomorrow’s new tomato.



Much of the world prays for such transformation or numbs their consciousness so not to think about these trivialities. No wailing or silent screams, no writhing in a spasm of angst. We take ourselves into an inner conscience in whatever ways we can—physically with exercise, mentally with meditation, or chemically with drugs—and our minds reward us with temporary endorphins.


And I find that most memories also reward. They are comfort food for the soul and they are a more lasting endorphin—as long as you remember.


But questions bandy about.


• Do memories supersede our will to live or do we have a will to live because of them?


• Can understanding and appreciating the past for lessons learned, be a lasting gratification for the human soul?


• I also wonder if Einstein’s theories of relativity include the speed by which time appears to move from birth to death?


From my view on the latter, time speeds along faster as I age, and it’s this big worry that finally spurs my actions to recall and to share.


“The hardest time to find is time that is fleeting.” I scribble one pre-dawn.


Though written a few years ago, I read just now in a Scientific American article that James M. Broadway, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Brittiney Sandoval, a UC graduate, speaks to my question about the speed of time as we age.


Essentially they say the more new activities our brains incorporate, the slower time seems to pass, and conversely the less new activities we engage in, the faster time races. This is because as we age there are more familiarities and more habits in our lives so it appears we skip along faster from one day to the next. As young’ns our inquisitive minds and constant new learning experiences extend our hours and days.


This prompts me to ask if living in the moment and forgetting the past is an answer to anguish? Will the ephemeral memories of Snapchat ironically live with a person throughout his or her life?


As she recalls a scene on one of her Instagram posts a colleague, Deidre Heekin, eloquently refers to memory as “...delicate architecture….” That it is, yet someday there will be 3-D printings of memories so palpable we can virtually relive our warm, fuzzy, funny, or ugly moments.


In a couple of centuries the easy way to record memories will be to actually put part of you, or them, onto a memory disc—to separate your mind from your body. So in addition to our current print or audio memories making way into landfills, we’ll mine the detritus in our heads in a whole new way.


Michio Kaku explains how this mind-body dichotomy can physiologically happen: all of our neurons can be encoded as photons on a laser that beams “… {our} consciousness in some sense,” {our} personality, {our} memories, the essence of {our} soul,” around the universe at the speed of light."


These photons can end up in a dopplegänger robot of you a few galaxies away. It’s all merely an engineering conundrum he says, and once we figure this out, we’re off.


Often as child or adult, sharing doesn’t come easily so we are taught for the greater good to part with beloved possessions, but by the time we are close to parting with ourselves, I find the obsession to share overrules.


I won’t be around for my AI dopplegänger, so here and now I have our Ricotta Diaries. And for you this recipe of a blended garlic soup. New studies show that "...allyl sulfide, a compound in garlic known for its health benefits..."* is good for your memory!



©TLCmoon, LLC


Music to Cook By


Copperline, James Taylor



Cream of Garlic Soup

*This from Science Daily: "Overall, the new findings suggest that dietary allyl sulfide promotes memory consolidation by restoring gut bacteria. The researchers are continuing to conduct experiments aimed at better understanding the relationship between the gut microbiota and cognitive decline and are examining how garlic might be used as a treatment in the aging human population."


Sitting on the outdoor patio of Hemingway's in the summer of 1982, the sun warmed us to our newfound future. Ted and I were with our first chef, Jonathan St. Laurent, all working on our first menu. We had no patio furniture yet so we propped ourselves against the side of the building, and through collaboration we dreamed up this soup recipe. Jonathan brought it to life and because of its popularity we only took it off the menu during summer—and sometimes not even then.


Hemingway’s Cream of Garlic Soup

2 tbs. olive oil or as needed

1 leek, medium, white part only, coarsely chopped and thoroughly washed

(about 1 cup)

10 garlic cloves

1/2 lb. smoked ham (preferably Vermont) cut into 1-inch pieces

6-7 c. chicken stock or light game stock

1 lb. boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into eighths

1/2 c. whipping cream

coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper

fresh minced chives or flat-leaf parsley to taste


In large stockpot heat oil over medium-low heat. Add the leek, garlic,

and ham. Cover and cook until vegetables are slightly tender, about 10

minutes, stirring occasionally.


Remove cover and add stock and potatoes, stirring to combine well.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until leek, garlic and

potatoes are fork tender, at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Remove from heat and remove ham. Working in batches (if necessary)

transfer mixture to a blender and purée.


Transfer purée back to stockpot. Slowly whisk in cream, and heat

through.


Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.


Ladle into warmed soup bowls. Garnish with chopped chives or parsley.


©TLCmoon, LLC

Bridgewater Corners, Vermont

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