In a touching NYT essay about her mother who slowly is losing her memory to Alzheimer’s, Elizabeth Kadetsky notes how forgetfulness does allow you to dissociate from history, all history, painful and pleasant, so that you come to appreciate only the moment, nothing that came before it, nothing that would perhaps disturb the pleasure of experiencing whatever touches you now.
I am, as everyone else is, attached to memory. If I do not have a daughter at my side, I at least have the recollection of our most recent conversation, and of our time together, and of her (their) entire childhood.
On the other hand, if I were not burdened by the memory of yesterday’s coldness, I would believe, just based on what I am experiencing at the moment, that we are having a pleasant as pie summer season.
I bike to campus today and urge Ed to bike with me. Being more “in the moment” than perhaps anyone I know, he agrees. Why not…
And it is a lovely little ride.
The lake is pretty, yes, totally pretty (forgetting the ice that covers it for so many winter months... long winter months), sailboats and other floating devices bounce around in playful summer winds (and children bounce with them…)
…(and some bounce too much so that the boat topples over…)
…really, it is quite a perfect little day.
Bascom Hill is empty now. Mostly empty. In any case, there are no Badger red sweatshirts on this warm (enough) day. The only red on the hill is the red of the old brick Science Hall. Oh, and of the young woman, turning ever so slightly pink. In her red bikini.
I take Ed down to the food huts on Library Mall. This is my stomping ground, not his, I know my way around: I know that lattes are on sale on Thursdays at the bookstore, for instance. I know all that. But he, too, has memories here. Distant ones, but memories nonetheless. The juice guy is an old buddy, and the fruit vendor was in his housing coop.
I say to Ed – and I come down here nearly every day, no matter how cold… But he’s not listening. He sees the burrito stand. At the moment, he wants nothing more than a double burrito. With hot sauce.
We bike back the long way – via the Southwest path. And this is the way I bike when I meet a friend on Monroe Street or have dinner on Chapman. Ed’s grinning. Really? It’s pretty here in the summer, he tells me.