On Memoir by Susan Baldwin StrohMemory curls towards you, a wisp of smoke from the chimney of a distant house as you crunch over frozen snow. Attracted by its dance, you are drawn to the stone house, where windows on the top floor are darkened in mystery. The ground floor promises a single light.

You enter and the warmth of it, the hearth in winter, surrounds you—embers bursting here and there into tiny teasing flames.  You gaze, trancelike, and let the fire ignite.  The flames hurl their spears of light, piercing the veil of your oh-so-fragile present time.

You thought your life was solid: a march through time with mostly steady feet, relentless, mostly predictable. You supposed your past to be fixed in your mind like pictures stuck in albums, stories of things you were told happened.

Some of your past you made with newspaper and glue like so much paper mache.  Some of your past exploded like shooting stars never to be seen again, in this universe.

Or, so you thought…

Memories are enchantress’ scarves, whirling at dizzying speed around your fearful mind as the she-devil dares you, “Recreate your life, re-live!”

Memories are small, stubborn flowers growing unexpectedly out of mountain-top rock.  They are found in hardened slime and mud like the skeletons of animals that got caught there.  But then, there are the memories that you can open like too many presents at Christmas when you were a kid–you scrambled for the one you really wanted but didn’t know why.  Or it may be you never had presents at Christmas, so memories are what you dreamed when you left the places of pain and you touched something alive, fresh and beautiful, just you and your deepest lacks and the dreams you found that somewhat filled the void.  Those dreams became future, treasured memories.

With some trepidation you mount the stairs in darkness. “What will I find in the darkened top story of my life?”

Go ahead, turn on the lights and see!