Our present is mostly a past. The more so the longer we’ve lived. The desk lamp, a beloved’s glance, the speeding yellow school bus turning down the neighborhood street, reconstructed by the mind of former images and impressions, residing largely in a mental reservoir for remaking, called up to compose quick sense of experience.
The unfamiliar slows the mind—what’s this?—which greedily gathers every detail. Childhood summers expand to endlessness in the newness of each day’s adventures. Reared in a farm- and college-town of the 1950s, I scooped crawdads into red and blue Dixie cups in the irrigation ditches that sectored neighborhoods, built tree forts in towering cottonwood branches abuzz with yellow wasps (cool breezes on the skin, the yellow-green flicker of leaves, the bluish shimmer off the brown canal water below . . .), reached inside the next-door girl’s pink zippered cotton jumper to touch between her legs—memories that tumble out, alongside countless others from fifty years ago, with little prompting.
Days now at year 60 spin past, the hours unfolding in decades-old established order: coffee, dog walk, breakfast of cereal and fruit . . . Where was I yesterday at noon?