Memories as pictures in a gallery

Our own spiritual galleries
From Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper
“Such sensations make me think of my girlhood. I look closely at each memory, in my own gallery, as if to discover some clue, some fresh element in the story: a hand on an arm, a glove left on an arm, a glance, a glove left on a seat, maybe.” 23
Memories are like paintings in a gallery that we can stroll through, gazing at them or stopping to look further at a detail. Or memories come and go, unexpectedly, less like paintings in a gallery, and more like interruptions in a movie. Sudden scenes that send us reeling into our past. The other day I drove with my dogs to our favorite nature preserve. As we walked around the perimeter, I caught the deep scent of warm pine and immediately I remembered days of hiking out in Montana. I could recall the hot, dry (little like the warm moist air of the Dakotas) breeze, the steep trail that switch backed through the pines, and finally came to a level place. I had hiked that one and a half mile trail at least once a week: sometimes with campers, sometimes to visit Charlie, the old prospector who lived in a small cabin on Bridge Creek. The elevation gain in the first mile was almost 1000 feet and I could always feel the relief in my lungs when I would stop and take a deeper breath of the rare air of such high altitudes. Charlie always placed a small tin cup at the underground spring, right where the trail was level. We would stop and drink deeply of the cold, cold clear water. Only three quarters of a mile left. Finally, we would arrive at Charlie’s cabin—three or four of us—staff from the camp below where we worked. And then we would stay overnight in the guest cabin built by Charlie. We often cooked dinner—fried spam and potatoes. Then we’d gather round his small radio and listen to Mystery Theater or a baseball game. And sleep came easy from all the physical exertion. Those memories—pictures of a place that I hope to visit again this summer. But like all memories or pictures in a gallery—they never stay the same. Those who look at the picture keep on changing, but do the landscapes.

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2 Responses to Memories as pictures in a gallery

  1. says:

    Is that what Storyhill’s “Charlie’s Cabin” is about?

  2. gary says:

    I’d forgotten about the tin cup. Great memories! Nicely written!

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