Being on the shore of the ocean is a special place to me. The sound of the waves slowly rolling in lulls me into a deep state of relaxation. It’s like listening to the heartbeat of the world. Walking barefoot on the beach feels wonderful and I love looking in the tidepools to see what treasures the ocean has brought forth for the moment. Later in the day the tidepool is filled up, the contents set adrift, and new gifts of the ocean appear to be left for discovery when the tide rolls out again.
When I think of memories I envision the same scenario. The tide changes (time) and the ocean (my collection of memories) leave a treasure or two behind for me to rediscover (a specific memory). The memory has been there since its inception, but it comes and goes with the tide and swirls of the ocean. All it takes is something specific to act as the tide to pull it out to be re-discovered. Even though it’s the same memory it’s always a little different. The grit in the ocean has maybe changed its shape. Maybe the experiences I’ve had since the last time have changed my perception of it. Regardless, my curiosity causes me to examine it, be grateful for it, and then toss it back into the ocean to be pulled back up some other time.
Today the tide took the form of an old CD. Way back in late 2000 my parents bought me a flight to Washington DC to see my new niece (still can’t believe she’s almost 18!). It was my first time flying in a large commercial jet and I still remember way more of the experience than I probably should. With it being pre-9/11 security wasn’t too crazy, but learning how to do everything the first time was pretty wild. While in the airport I bought a paperback for myself, The Walking by Bentley Little. On both flights I read that while listening to the No Name Face album by Lifehouse.
Hearing that album today brought me back in time to that trip. It started with hearing the songs one after another and remembering what was happening in the book during certain songs. I then thought about all of the firsts of that trip and how it was my first long distance trip via plane. From there I remembered seeing my niece for the first time and thinking how crazy it was that Nick was a dad (and I was an uncle). I remember spending time with my mom and dad while Nick worked and then spending time together in their living room. When my dad took me back to the airport there was a slight rain and he said, “uh oh, it looks like there’s going to be an accident.” A few seconds afterwards we saw a pickup truck lose traction as it changed lanes and it shot right across the busy freeway. By some act of God it missed everyone and went right into the ditch. Funny how that memory sticks out… I still remember the flight home and arriving in Minneapolis and then driving back to La Crosse, finally getting home late in the evening. All those memories, all brought forth from one album.
That’s kind of the core of what I’m thankful for today. On almost every vacation or trip I’ve gone on there’s a specific album or song that takes me back to memories of that trip. Wilder Mind by Mumford and Sons makes me think of Australia. Bad World by Kodaline will be held close in my heart when I think of Isle Royale. When the song “Cough Syrup” by Young the Giant comes on I am mentally in the Canadian Rockies. “Home” by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros leads me back to Hawaii… How excellent is it that music can return so many memories in just a moment?
Today I’m thankful for my mental vacation soundtracks. Washington DC was where it took me back to today, who knows where it will be tomorrow… What I do know is that I’m thankful for music being the tide that’s brought back some excellent memories today!