Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Photographs and Memories

Etched in my mind are images of my past that present themselves to me periodically.  I have memories of my youth so clear that even my late mother was astounded when I asked, "Do you remember when . . ."

It's odd that these memory bursts come when I hear certain songs, encounter different smells (like rain on a plowed field or wet leaves in the fall), the shape of a tree as I'm driving down the highway, or simply when I allow my mind to drift back through time.

Did you ever watch Kung Fu with David Carradine?  He allowed his mind to carry him back to when he was a child.  Now, I don't have a Shaolin Master to visit while in meditation, but I do vividly recall events of my past with clarity.

My brother and I found an injured water crane hiding in our thick grapevines when we were kids.  This bird had a huge, long beak and legs so tall that it was almost my height.  My brother, David, noticed its wing was broken.  "It needs our help," he said.  "Let's catch it."

Catch it?  This thing was huge!  To me, at least.  He grabbed the crane and held its legs together while I held its beak because we were afraid it would peck us.  We took the bird to the house and showed my mother.  Being kids, I guess we convinced her it needed our help.

We kept the crane in our house for several days.  My dad fed it bologna, which it enjoyed eating.  But, the bird was in worse shape than we thought and died a few days later.

Fast forward:  A few years before my mother passed away, she was telling some family members about the crane SHE caught.  I quickly corrected her, but she argued that it was her that brought the bird home.  But, I remember my fear while holding its beak all the way across the yard to the house.  That's not something you forget.

Then, not long after while visiting dad, he said, "You remember that crane I caught when you and David were little?"

I said, "No, I remember the one we caught.  You were at work when we caught it."  Which was the case.

My guess is that both of them had told the tale to others about how they caught the crane for so long that they actually believed they had.  My brother and I know differently.

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