Monday, August 26, 2013

I have been thinking about the wedding I just went to, about how my friend managed to fill a music venue with 500 people all ready to testify to whoever happened to be near just how great a guy he is. It is uncommon, I think, to see a life lived so big, and even less common to see it all condensed together. It was lovely to watch.

On the way home I flew over the forest fires, what looked like clouds resolving itself to be smoke and a thin line of bright red arcing jaggedly across the landscape. Unseen from above were all the people almost certainly down there trying to beat the flames back.

We landed in Seattle just at sunset, Mt. Rainier looming over a line of clouds all burnt reds and soft greens, the city clear below and an enormous moon just off to the side, possibly the most spectacular sight I have yet seen on my approach home. All electronic devices were turned off, so I am keeping it just here, slightly behind my eyes, for whenever I need it next.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I read an article about how if you make a flatworm learn a maze and then cut off its head, it still remembers how to navigate the maze. Which is no surprise, right? We already knew that we keep our memories laced everywhere, wrapped around our nerves and branching all through our limbs. We can feel them there, humming, as we move through space.

I was thinking about that Australian cryptid, the yara-ma-yha-who, who drops on you from a tree and siphons out your blood to make you weak. Once you can't fight back it eats you all up, has a drink of water, and takes a nap. Refreshed, it vomits you back out, shorter and a little red. It repeats this process a few times until you turn into one of it. This seems like an extraordinarily bad set of memories to have baked into your bones, but I don't suppose we get to choose the memories we keep.

But more interesting anyway is the memories afterward, once you have been made into a yara-ma-yha-who, destined now to spend the foreseeable future dropping out of trees and eating people. If you are transformed, do you keep your memories? If you turn a flatworm into a golden retriever, can it navigate the maze? We spend so much effort trying to keep our memories that it turns out I have no idea what one has to do to shed them. And anyway most of the time a flatworm stays a flatworm, shot through with the mazes it has run before.

Monday, August 05, 2013

We are just covered in summer around here, which leaves me mostly thinking about summer things--root beer floats and trips to New York and naps, a video of a baby elephant in a tiny pool, all the antics that bears get up to, flat shoes and how to add more days to weekends. We have attended a remarkable number of barbecues and eaten a record number of sausages. All in all, I think the whole summer thing is working out.

Next weekend I'll be in New York for what is sure to be a giant wedding with the dress code "fabulous". I'll only be there for a couple of days--really, not long enough to even leave Brooklyn so much, but you know how I love a wedding, and an excuse to fly somewhere fun, and a reason to buy something new with sequins.

Put like that, it turns out that my main goal for the summer can be newly defined as wearing sequins and drinking a root beer float. Followed by a nap.