Tuesday, October 17, 2006

In Memory Mode

October 17

I just read a new blog that got me thinking about living in memory as opposed to living in the moment. I even posted a comment on that blog, basically saying that it's important to live in the moment, yes, but it doesn't hurt a bit to be informed by a vivid past so you are somehow channeling your best self at the same time. I didn't say that, and I'm not even sure it's what I mean, but let's explore the idea and see where it goes.

The writer, Dan Spiro, was talking about the joy he experienced attending his college reunion. We in Fairhope are planning a huge reunion of every class that ever graduated from the Marietta Johnson School, to be held at about this time next year, so there will be lots of nostalgia floating around for the next 11 months as we prepare for that. We'll explore the 100-year history of the school, the ever-fresh message of Mrs. Johnson, and we'll do our best to contact everybody who ever was affected by Organic Education, however briefly, however we can.

Some, no doubt, will have little interest in touching the past. Others will yearn to relate their experiences and let us know how their lives have been transformed by the ability to self-define and self-actualize. I hope we actually find a number of people who have been unknown to us at the school for years. I hope it will be a stimulating year for the school and for those connected with it.

I was thinking in my pre-awake state this morning about how as a young person I never thought about living in the moment, I just did it. Then I realized that that was really all I had, since there was so little past in my young life, and I had no tools to anticipate what the future might hold. It seems better, with all the baggage that has accumulated over the years, to live in the present; however, it really is valuable to experience life whole at any one time, that is, to enjoy the present fully while comparing it to a treasured past and knowing it will all soon be replaced. Somebody, maybe everybody reading this is going to say I'm describing an impossible life situation. But to me that is every day of life at my age; it is informed by a past rich in experiences and it anticipates a certain amount of change in the future.

Living in Fairhope, the town I grew up in, makes me confront the duality of past and future at all times; my book Meet Me at the Butterfly Tree may be said to be wallowing in the past. This blog straddles past, present and future every day. I often cannot accept what is happening in Fairhope today because of what I know of its past; yet I accept it because I'm here and it is happening, but I'm damn sure going to write to someone about it. And there is always that note of what-if about the future in these blogposts, the suggestion of fair hope that the town may come out of all this somehow, if not as good as it once was, at least better than it appears at the moment.

Living on all these planes at once is not easy, yet it is simple. And I suspect it's as good as it gets.


C Evans said...

Good news! I recieved the book today.

Finding Fair Hope said...

Let me know how you like it. Any other takers out there? I sold about six at the Unitarians Sunday

Anonymous said...

Gadzooks! How many more before you can retire?