It's odd what sticks in one's memory. I'm not talking about births, deaths, marriages, et cetera. Rather, I'm talking about the random scenes that carry no apparent freight of significance in terms of our life story. But they nonetheless retain a clarity that is akin to a vivid dream from which one has just awoken.
For instance: I recall standing in a harvested cornfield in Minnesota on a sunny autumn day nearly 50 years ago. On the ground around me were corn cobs and corn kernels. I remember the bright yellow of the kernels against the dark soil. High overhead hundreds of Canadian geese, in V-formations, flew away to the south. Down from the sky came the unending sound: honk, honk, honk.
I have no urge to derive any "meaning" from this memory. There is no skein to be untangled. It is not the beginning of a path into a dark (or magical) forest. I've come to the conclusion that the fact that these things happened is enough in itself.
Sometimes, when walls and occupation seem
A prison merely, a dark barrier
Between me everywhere
And life, or the larger province of the mind,
As dreams confined,
As the trouble of a dream,
I seek to make again a life long gone,
My mind's approach and consolation,
To give it form's lucidity,
Resilient form, as porcelain pieces thrown
In buried China by a wrist unknown,
Or mirrored brigs upon Fowey sea.
Then to my memory comes nothing great
Of purpose, or debate,
Or perfect end,
Pomp, nor love's rapture, nor heroic hours to spend --
But most, and strangely, for long and so much have I seen,
Comes back an afternoon
Of a June
Sunday at Elsfield, that is up on a green
Hill, and there,
Through a little farm parlour door,
Of red tiles and blue,
And the air
Sweet with the hot June sun cascading through
The vine-leaves under the glass, and a scarlet fume
Of geranium flower, and soft and yellow bloom
Of musk, and stains of scarlet and yellow glass.
Such are the things remain
Quietly, and for ever, in the brain,
And the things that they choose for history-making pass.
John Drinkwater, Loyalties (1922).