A memory is like a sign left within the stone, but nothing is forever and nothing can scratch the stone except for something indelible as a memory engraved into the soul. The human being, from a purely scientific point of view, is made of bones, organs, blood and water. But in reality it’s much more than this, it’s feelings, it’s past, present and future. It’s like one of those old trunks that you find in old grandmothers’ houses, all dusty and ruined, but when you open it up it triggers a whirlwind of colours, smells and tastes. All this from a scientific point of view is the capacity of the human being to store and memorize, where by memorize we mean the brain’s capacity to conserve information. That is the psychic function aimed at assimilation, retention and recall, in the form of remembering, information learned during the experience or through a sensory means. But once again there is more, memories are signs that we leave within our thoughts. They are a bridge between what we are now and what we have been. We decide what to remember and what to “forget”, our life is made of indelible signs that allows us to become what and whom we are.
Nothing is permanent because our life is subject to continuous changes, just look at the scientific and technological progress that the world, indeed the human intellect, is making. We are making giant strides from every point of view, creating a continuous state of evolution and improvement. But the attitude of leaving a mark, of leaving a trace of one’s own passage has always been intrinsic in the human being, and any sign is by its own nature a message.
Human beings need both to communicate and be communicated with.
Over time, man has scattered the globe with graphic signs to testify and to deliver at the time what he has seen, though, believed. And to communicate it in this way to the divinity or to other men. The petroglyphs represent the most widespread known prehistoric mode of communication. We also have hieroglyphic writing that has remained the same for over 4000 years. The delivery of their messages through the stones reveals intentions of eternity. Just as themes and symbolisms declare immaterial areas, where ideas live, such as those pertaining to the religious sphere of humanity (like the rites around the large standing stones of our copper age suggest) or that of its secularism.
We need to leave a mark, not only for others but also for ourselves, so as not to forget the path we have taken. Anything leaves a mark. The waves of the sea scratch the rocks, the moss leaves traces on the trunks of the trees and an animal leaves its imprint in the fresh soil. Every agent, living or otherwise, leaves a mark in history and the human being has the wonderful ability to store up these signs, translating them into our memories.
Keep your memories close, you will need them, and when you feel lost dig into the memory and you will have the feeling of being really upon this planet.
Imagine yourself being on a beach near the sea, close your eyes and breathe. Every single external agent will take you back to a different time period than the one you are living. The wind in your hair will take you back to that first trip in the car made with friends, where carefreeness reigned and you felt as though you had the world on your fingers. The sand on your feet and stuck all over your body will remind you of those days when you played as a child in the sand all day, or of those times when you put your feet near the sea and every time a wave passed by you sank deeper and deeper. The unmistakable smell, indeed perfume, of saltiness, brings you back to the first love, the one consumed under the stars that still today makes your heart feel it’s beat stronger. Every song, smell or sensation will make you relive past moments that you thought would never come back, but this is exactly what memories are all about, to make you relive once again whatever it was you thought had been lost.
It’s true when we say that nothing is permanent, or when we say that the most beautiful things are those that end because you enjoy the moment more. It’s true that nothing can tarnish in a stone, but as long as we have the ability to relive past moments that make a lopsided smile appear on our faces, let’s do it, without thinking twice. As the writer Cesare Pavese said:
“Non si ricordano i giorni, si ricordano gli attimi”.
We are made of these indelible moments which suggest the days are not remembered, only the moments are remembered.
This story is featured on C41 ISSUE 8 Memory.