Monday, 6 February 2012

Preserve your memories

Sunday was a very full day with much to remember.

I have a theory, founded on not very much at all having only been following this process of remembering every day of my life for less than two months. The theory is that each day should have just one memory tag image pinned to my mental calendar, two at most.

The image has to be selected with care to call up the other things I wish to remember for that day.

For Sunday 5 February 2012 it is of my wife outside a building next to the river, wrapped up against the snow, with a packet in her hands.

I will review this picture for the next ten days, the period I look back over daily to solidify the memories.

At some other point each day, I also review the same day of the week for the last few months - flipping back through every Monday, for example (I've been able to pin down some memory tags for dates before I began this process).

If I have the time and inclination, I also flip back through the years. So today I will try to remember where I was each 6 February as far back as I have the time and inclination to go. It may be that all I can recall will be as vague as which town I must have been living in.

Since starting this process, I have concrete images pinned to each date. Forever more, the image for 5 February 2012 will be that of my wife.

From this, I know it was a day we walked past the river in the snow to arrive at the building in the background.

I will either remember, or work out from the tag from the previous day, that this was a new snowfall.

So I will remember that a multitude of snowmen and women had sprung up that morning in the fields and we took a picture by one that stood over 3 metres tall.

The building is an industrial museum. The packet in my wife's gloved hands contains the guide book we bought, for this was the day we finally visited the museum after walking past it many times.

I will remember that it was not yet open when we arrived. We had to fill the time. What did we do? We carried on to a favourite café for lunch.

The museum is memorable enough to be able to visualise the steam engines inside it working just by thinking about it.

My wife is wearing a large pair of my gloves over her own, because it is very cold.

I will remember that one of these was lost on the way back and I had to retrace our footsteps to look for it.

That memory of cold and falling dark will hopefully associate with my secondary memory tag for today: accompanying a friend to the airport that night to collect his wife's aunt. His wife is pregnant and due to deliver this week. There were traffic warnings and I volunteered to go with him so his wife could stay in the warm and I could help if the road became impassable, as had happened the night before, when the snow fell. All went well and he dropped me at the end of my road at two o'clock in this morning.

The image of my wife in the gloves outside the museum will hopefully be enough to bring this all to mind in the years to come.

I was actually taking a photograph of her as she stood there.

One day I hope we will look at the photograph and I will say, "Do you remember this day? It was when...."

And we will laugh and smile together.

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