a sense of scale

There are things that we see and hear that are forgotten in a moment, and other things that stay with us for many, many years.

The things that stick with us can come from any number of different sources and, while some may be profoundly important and shape the way we see life from that moment onwards, others are as trivial as a phrase that continues to echo in memory or a scene from a TV programme that has no relevance to anything at all.
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memory of summer

It’s been another nasty day, with no sunshine. The rain started early, then turned to sleet and then wet white feathers of snow that whispered against my umbrella and turned immediately to slush under my feet when I walked to the supermarket to get milk.

Despite a brief attempt at settling, the snow was soon superseded by more rain, and now it’s reduced to a mizzling dampness, which is expected to fade to mist or fog later on.
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shaping memories

I mentioned “memory” in yesterday’s blog post, which is hardly a new subject for this blog: if you search on the word, you’ll find eight pages of posts come up, or 29 pages if you search for “remember”. This compares with no instances -until now – of “forgetfulness” and just six pages of posts including the word “forget”.

Since they are two sides of the same coin, I wonder why there is such a bias. Presumably it’s the way I phrase things: I probably talk more about “not remembering” than I do about “forgetting”, but I’m not sure why.
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fair weather flowers

I don’t know when I first heard the saying “God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December”**, but it made sense to me as I was brought up in Britain and grew up thinking of the rose as the perfect symbol of English summer.

Later, I realised that I was wrong to think of the flower as typically English: I’ve seen the Rose Parade in Pasadena and elsewhere on the blog I’ve pondered the character of Spanish roses. But I still tend to associate roses with better weather.

That said, I took the above photo earlier this week.

True, the blooms are a little the worse for wear – if I was remembering a rose, I think I’d picture one in rather better condition. Frankly, though, I don’t think they should have been there at all.

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** The quote is attributed to J M Barrie, though when he used it in a rectorial address in 1922 he seems to have expected his audience to be familiar with it.

memories beginning with “c”

A few weeks ago, I posted a picture of a cyclamen flower and pondered why I always forget the name. Today’s flower also begins with “c”, but for some reason I find it far easier to remember the word clematis.

Considering this for a few moments raises the question of how, given the range of shapes, sizes and colours the name can be applied to, I know the flower in the photo is a clematis.
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word association

Memory is an odd thing. And linguistic memory is perhaps as odd as any.

I know I should remember the name of the flowers in the photo as I’ve grown plenty over the years, but every time I see them I have to sort through and reject a few other words that come to mind first.

They definitely aren’t coelacanths.

And I’m fairly sure they have nothing to do with Clytemnestra.
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memory of sunshine

J M Barrie is quoted as saying:

God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.

I wonder if perhaps He gave us photography and the internet so those of us with poor memories could not just have their own sunflowers and blue skies on dull autumnal days, but so we could also share them with others.(And share them long after the apparently absent sun set, too.)

sunflowers against cloudy blue sky