Sunday, July 04, 2010

Sunday Morning Run

Thoughts on Memory

One need not be a chamber to be haunted;
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place.
~Emily Dickinson, "Time and Eternity"

While running early this morning I was listening to familiar music on the radio. The experience triggered memories of past times when I enjoyed similar music, but it also suggested thoughts of the process of memory. Like most people I have very selective memories, primarily of momentous events, but also seemingly random incidents from throughout my life. These memories are triggered by sensations and sometimes just by other thoughts while reading or just day-dreaming. Dickinson's reference to haunting captures the experience as well as any but it is not the haunting in a supernatural sense, but more like a lingering of sensations from days and years past.  Yet the feeling may be ghost-like as in the reference by Vladimir Nabokov:
"The doctor is made to suggest that not only did Shade retain his trance half of his identity but that he was also half a ghost." ("Commentary" in Pale Fire, p 194)

The "corridors" of our brains are many and discoveries while roaming them are the stuff of memories, ghost-like or not.


Kass said...

A lovely post. You're a thoughtful person.

James said...

Thanks for your kind observation.