Yesterday, someone mentioned Colorado and it sparked a memory trail in my brain. We lived there when I was a wee one, from about age two to five. Funny how I can remember details from so long ago, when my brain was pure and ready to be filled with knowledge.
The memories are clouded in that dreamlike veneer, but they are there. Making snow angels. Holding my grandma’s hand as we walked to meet my older sister at school. My mom showing us the outline of the Rocky Mountains in the distance. Long weekend trips to visit my grandparents who were living in Wyoming at the time. All that flat, Wild West land alongside the highway. The neighbor’s German Shepherd, named Chief, who used to stand up on the other side of the fence, barking at the little, bratty ones who were boldly curious about this creature. Watching The Wizard of Oz for the first time. Chicken pox. The excitement I felt when my parents told us we were moving to this strange place called Oregon, way out there in the woods, yet close to the ocean.
I was born in California, but remember nothing about my childhood there. I know I was there, however, because my birth certificate is from Cali. The Pacific Northwest is now my home, so many memories that I can’t travel down the smallest, unpaved road without sharing a story. There is just something about those early memories. I didn’t really know what unhappiness was back then… Hadn’t experienced heartbreak and disappointment. I was content to be surrounded by my family, gaggle of neighborhood pals, and Chief the dog, in all his gruffness.
These days, I tend to have a selective memory. Storing the really good ones for future use and filing away the ones I’m not all that interested in revisiting. Curating my memories takes much more work these days. And ask me to recall what happened five minutes ago… Good luck with that. However, I take comfort in knowing those memories of childhood wonder and discovery will always be there, in dreamy golden-green hues.