Friday, April 25, 2014
There are windows in our lives that open momentarily and shut forever. They reveal where we have come from and point to where we will eventually go. Like angels balanced on the points of pins, we are given a gift of knowing and then it is taken away from us. We are young and in our minds there is a maelstrom of memories which jostle, incapable of articulation because the tongue cannot yet act as the brain’s tool. We have just learned the glimmerings of what it is to be alive and the enormity of separateness. Only if some empathetic adult intuits that the window has opened and teases out our pictures, will the revelations pour out before it shuts again.
I was sitting with a tiny girl not yet three years old, at a gathering for a meal. The hubbub acted like an insulation. I asked her about her first memories. No, before that. Before the pram. Before the milk from your mother’s breast. Where did you come from? She sighed and looked at me as though I should know the answer but told me, nevertheless.
I was an apple in an apple tree. The tree stretched up into the night full of stars. One day I fell slowly though the branches. I landed on grass. A man with a beard came with a knife. He wrapped me and gave me to my mother.
The room had gone silent. The magical little vignette hypnotized the guests. Then the little girl’s mother whispered that when she had been born they had used old green towels and the doctor was a bearded man. But, like the rest in the room, she had no explanation for the apple tree and the stars and the velvet night.