It saddened me to learn that Dame Diana Rigg passed on the other day. She was an accomplished actress, but more than that, she was an early TV crush of mine when The Avengers reached US television screens in 1966. She was beautiful, an eclectic mixture of high class and bad ass. She dropped the bad guys without breaking a sweat.
Thinking back to those long ago episodes got me thinking about the nature of memories. I first considered them to be kept neatly stored away in little rooms along a long corridor, eventually leading to that special room, the safe place we like to turn to when comfort is the highest necessity.
As my wife and I sat outside in the backyard that day, our talk turned to the inevitable migration of her beloved hummingbirds, and how we saw more of them this summer than we’d ever seen before. There were three or four different ones, making numerous trips to the yard each day to visit the trumpet vines woven through the shrubs and the two feeders she set out for them, always kept clean and filled with fresh sugar water.
And that’s when it hit me.
While we’d like to feel that we keep our memories neatly stored and organized, the truth is that they come and go entirely at random, much like the tiny hummingbirds that appear at different times, darting and hovering effortlessly as they seek their nourishment. That’s a much more realistic comparison to the nature of memory. How many times do we remember something entirely unrelated to where we are and what we’re doing and wonder, “Where the hell did that come from?”
Well, so much for that long corridor with doors keeping the things we so enjoyed… and those things we keep hidden well, wishing we could permanently forget them. No, all those memories are like the hummingbirds, coming and going entirely at will, delighting observers with their remarkable aeronautic abilities.
For me, I’ll open the item that Amazon just delivered, the one I ordered immediately upon learning of Diana’s passing, and I will feed my own memories now.
As always, do sleep well…