Friday, May 09, 2008

I try to keep remembering, try to hold behind my eyes a file of everything that was ever important. I was reading, recently, about the chemicals in our brains that let us unlearn fears. We stay away from stoves until careful, experimental touching teaches us that it's only the burners that hurt, and we unravel the parts of our fear of stoves that don't have to do with burners.
You would think that, with all of this touching, I'd be less afraid.
In any case, I've been thinking about how maybe those same chemicals let us re-learn our memories, amending them, sorting through boxes and filing cabinets and card catalogs of hazy impressions of moments and scents and songs. Adding a note in pencil at the bottom of them, unraveling the parts that we thought we remembered and filtering the rest through what we know now.
Maybe it's those chemicals that make me forget to step back from all of these ledges, no matter how many times I fall off of them.

And there are these bats that live in New Zealand, bats that certainly flew there, bats that sometimes still fly. But they do all of their hunting on the ground, wings tucked along their sides, marching about in the leaf litter on their little wrists. They're evolving backwards, or maybe they've gone around in a full circle. These bats, though, they're living in a completely different way than every other kind of bat, because that's what circumstances told them to do.

Sometimes I think that it is one hundred fifty years ago, and I have been carving all of this into your cornfields, waiting for someone to invent the airplane.

No comments: