Memories

In Visions of the Daughter of Albion, poet William Blake compares memories to a form of mental time-travel, stating that memories “traverse times and spaces far remote”. This got me thinking of how memories truly are a form of travel and I thought of how memories transport me at the most random times.

Last week as I labored over my tedious US history reading, a text from a friend brought me back to life and instantly transported me back to a challenging but wonderful summer. Suddenly I was with my friends from the SSTP research program, crowding in the basement at midnight as tornado sirens went off, comforting all the kids who had traveled from other regions and had never experienced a tornado. The next second I was sitting at a large dining table at the Hillcrest Hall, laughing with these friends about failed experiments in lab. Next we were all gasping for breath after an intense game of ultimate Frisbee, well past dark. After that I was in the lounge on the floor of my dorm room, blasting music, dancing with friends, and sampling various exotic food. Finally I was in tears as I said goodbye to all my friends on the last day of of the research program. All these memories came flooding back to me in a split second.  Sitting at my kitchen counter, in front of my school textbook, I had just traveled a hundred miles and relived my summer.

Memories are truly fascinating. The more you recollect them, the stronger the memory gets because the neural synapses strengthen. The memories are also a form of travel, because you revisit the places you have been and the people you were with. As I sat there texting my friend and catching up with her on exciting events, I appreciated my ability to recollect memories and communicate with a friend sitting in North Carolina. While I stayed at home I was able to travel back in time mentally, and travel across the country at the same time with memories and technology.

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