Sunday, April 22, 2012

Another Brick in the Wall

Sometime ago, years it appears now to me, I remember an old Victorian house that I would see on my way to school every day. The house was massive and had this inviting look to the front of it.

I could not recall when I last seen anyone living in this old place, nor do I remember seeing anyone ever tending to the lawn. Shrubs had grown and overtaken the place, the grass was over knee high and the paint chipping from the window seals.

But I loved this old house and of course being just a young kid in school, I never took the time to look into the houses ownership. But each day I would pass this old place and dream, thinking of the day when I would own it and spend hours repairing it, painting it, mowing the lawn and make this old place come alive once again. Allow it to become once more, the fullest of it's glory.

The years the school bus passed by that old house, each and every day, my eyes would fix themselves upon it. And each day, I would say to myself, "One day I will have a home like that".

One winter day, on the way home from school, I noticed something odd about the house. The foundation of it was constructed out of red brick, but on the left corner of the house, one brick had fallen out. Now I am not sure if that brick feel off because of the elements or maybe some vandal decided it would make them look big and bad if they just kicked the brick out. Anyway, one brick on the corner had fallen out of place.

I never paid much attention to that missing brick all winter long. Just focused on the house itself and my random thoughts of how I would fix it up and make it mine.

Near the end of the school year, the bus I rode on had stopped in front of the old house while repairs to the road were being done. This enabled me to really take a long look at the place and fuel my imagination with vivid details.

As I took in every aspect of the old house that I could, I noticed the corner of the foundation where the brick had been missing back in the winter. I had noticed that, not only had the one brick went missing, but now, the surrounding bricks were falling to the ground as well.

The first brick feel out, allowing the rain and wind to make their way into the cement that held the bricks in place. As time, cold, rain and everything else took its toll on the cement, the cement cracked, causing the surrounding bricks to loosen.

One by one, they feel to the ground. One brick leading to another and yet another. It appeared that, for every brick that cracked, another close by would fracture as well and soon, it, too, would fall silently, unnoticed to the ground. This broke my heart, sadly, watching this beautiful home be consumed by mother nature, forgotten by its owner.

The summer was spent as one usually was back in the 70's. Exploring the hillside, fishing, camping, playing with friends and all in all, having a wonderful time away from school.

When the fall season came and the yellow bus once again headed to school, carrying me to my final and senior year at Baileysville High. Meeting my friends for the first time again since school let out, we chatted, laughed and shared stories of our summer vacation.

As the bus passed the old Victorian house that morning, it stopped. A new kid was getting on the bus who had just moved into the house across the road from the old Victorian place.

There was my house that I would own someday. And now I can renew my memory of its glory and dream once again of the family I would raise there. But something was wrong! Something was so different on the old house and this had saddened me deeply.

The corner of the house where the first brick had fell off, causing other bricks to come crashing down around the vacant spot left, had changed.

The entire corner of the old house had sagged. That one spot with the missing brick had collapsed once other supporting bricks had fell off. The wooden wall had now been exposed and I could see the inside of the house form this corner.

Wooden supports that held the house up, now eaten away by rot, causing the old place to sag, the entire wall slowly collapsing in on itself.

My old house, the one I would buy one day and repair. Fix it up nicely and raise a family in it, bringing life once again back into it, was now rotting down.

Eventually, by the end of the school year, this once proud house, its frame exposed to the elements, had fallen in. Taking so much of the front and side that it was beyond repair. So sad to have seen such a beautiful place, forgotten and neglected go to waste.  Eventually, the old house feel completely to the ground and rotted away, now just a jangled mess of decaying wood. Barely noticeable of it ever being a home.

To begin building anything, one must first start with a corner. A foundation must be formed before anything can ever be constructed. From that corner the whole of the thing being constructed is supported. Without that corner, nothing can stand and eventually it all falls.

Life, is started at a corner. Something must be there to hold the rest of life together. And once that corner goes missing, like my old house, it becomes weak, unable to support itself and fades away.

Like my old house, the fallen brick is missed and anyone can tell that something is just not right with it. Eventually, without love and care, the whole of the structure will start to crack, allowing the bad things in life to seep in, working to weaken the whole. Over time, like I did with the old house, I forgot the old brick until I seen the corner of the house exposed. Then it became apparent of the damage to the frame, irreparable damage.

Perhaps, when the first brick fell, someone could have replaced it, repaired and and saved the old house. But no one seemed to care at all for it. I had wanted to but was unable, mostly because of my age and inability to make such changes to something I didn't own anyway. Wanted to stop the rot and decay, but was powerless to do so, thus, I had to watch my pretty Victorian house fall to ruin.

Are we like this house? Are we like that one little brick? Would we be missed if we weren't there? Those around us becoming exposed to harshness that will eventually weaken the family as a whole. Piece by piece, brick by brick we fall prey to decay and rot.

Once one brick has fallen, we notice the brick but do nothing to prevent the whole to rot. We say to ourselves that it is sad that such has happened and the brick will be missed, but never do we try to repair such damage and prevent future damage from occurring.

The support that one stone or one brick has made, although we may not see such support while the brick is securely in place, missed once it has fallen out. The once mighty, beautiful and proud house starts to fall. The cement that has held us together baring the elements until it can no longer stand strongly.

We notice how pretty the house was with the brick, but now see the bigger picture. If we refuse to repair the structure, saddened by the loss of the brick but make no attempts at repair, we will lose the house as a whole and thus, being forever forgotten.

Are we strong enough and willing to fix it? I would certainly hope so.

I have always felt like I was nothing in this life. I have always felt like I have made no difference to anyone and my "fallen brick" would not be missed. A few shed tears, perhaps, at my funeral, but my memory slowly fading away, and remembered no more.

But I think that assumption may have now changed for me as I think back to that once gorgeous old proud house. I look at life and my life in general and think of all the rot and decay that has it has fallen prey to. I go to the garage for the cement. I take that brick from the ground and dust it off, dress it up and cement it back into my life.

We all matter and we all are important in more ways than we think and our demise will affect more people in so many ways that we cant scarcely imagine. Our absence will make changes that ourselves and others are not even aware of and unable to even solidify in our deepest thoughts.

How do I know this? I just do and am amazed at how I came across its understanding. After all, everyone one of us is just, another brick in the wall.

Friday, April 13, 2012

It's Where The Wind Blows...

The human brain is by far, the most sophisticated computer ever created. It is able to copy, right, over right files, download, access information, learn, grow and store memories that can span over one's entire lifetime.

Safety features of that incredible organic computer allow it to shut certain memory storage areas down if it feels that those memories can or will possibly cause the body harm. Maybe this is also a short circuit fail safe device which keeps the memory intact but yet stores it safe in some obscure region of the brain, never to be played again by the act of remembrance.

In the female, the human brain has the ability and knowledge, from birth, to recreate human life. Argue me this? Sure, then I will have to ask you how such a life is formed inside of another life form, the body's own defense system shutting down while the embryo grows, thus stopping the mother's own immune system from sensing the embryo as a parasite inside the mother, thus killing it off. So, indeed, all of this is commanded by the brain. Running daily diagnostic of the body as a whole, even while we sleep.

I like to think of the brain as a large warehouse, filled with hundreds if not thousands of doors. Some locked, some hidden from the light of thought, stuck in the back, covered in dust, wanting never to be found. Inside those doors are where we store memories or certain feeds of information. And it amazes me how sounds, smells or some random photo accesses those doors, opening the memory where those items were fist experienced.

A weeping willow tree first shooting its leaves forth in the spring, remind me of Easter at my Grandma Della's yard. A certain type of pine smell, reminds me of a caroler candle my mom had since god only knows when, but we only seen and smelled its fragrance at Christmas.

Once the willow is seen every spring, that memory comes back. When I am somewhere and the odor of that candle captures my attention, I think of my mom's candle. Keys, if you will. Keys that open those thousands of doors that are hidden deep with-in my brain. Doors kept with a fail safe, hopefully preserving my memories for the remainder of my life.

Sometimes we smell just a hint of a familiar fragrance or hear maybe one or two notes of a song. "I know that", we say and wreck our minds the whole day trying to recall the name or the song or the place or thing we associate the smell with. Sometimes we can't figure it out and it ends in frustration, other times a friend may be the one who spent time on google looking up four or five words to let me know that a long forgotten song that I loved, although not knowing the name of it, was Strawberry Letter 22. Years of me hearing a few bars of it but never catching the words, thus never knowing the name of it...ending in frustration.

Sometimes those doors spring open or the keys are lost or forgotten and the contents behind the doors are lost forever. Such as the case for those who have dementia or alzheimer's. Keys lost or the owners forgotten ability to access the doors of the mind. The brains fail safe shutting down, memories lost forever.

In any case, we depend on those things to help us access long forgotten memories and where would we be without those? A man is the sum of his memories, all that we were, are and will become are based upon what we remember, so if we are not able to remember, what will we then become?

As I browse my warehouse...the one in my mind and not the one upstairs in the attic, I have found so many doors long shut and appears their hinges have even been welded tight to prevent my access to what lies behind them.

No matter how hard I try, I cannot seem to find the key that will allow me to open any of them. But desperate to unlock each one and peek to see what memories lie inside, long covered in mental dust, forgotten.

I need to know what is in them. I need to know why I hate the thought of my birthday and no, it has nothing to do with me growing old. Although I am ever more mindful of that now that I ever have been.

I need to know why I have hated the Christmas season. Why I wish it would become illegal to celebrate, being just two more days in December just like all the other days. But knowing how much money people make at that time of the year form buying the perfect gift for someone who can't be satisfied, it will never be outlawed.

There is a reason why I hate those days in particular. There must be some hidden memory that my mind has associated the hatred for these days with. I must know what that is so I can deal with it, find peace and move on. And yes, maybe letting those few who care for me find peace as well, able now to celebrate a holiday with them and them for me with joy as it was meant to be.

One song in particular, 10CC's "I'm not in Love", is one such song that stirs or jars a string of memory in me. The music, not the lyrics, has an effect on me and always has had. The first chorus part of the song, with the instrumental, hints of a hidden memory somewhere in my mental warehouse and one that I am unable to open. No matter how hard I try to associate that with any one thing, it eludes me, escapes me.

As Khan said in Star Trek II, "He task me and I shall have him, I will chase him round the moons of Nibia, around the Mailstrom Nebula and round perdition's flames before I give it up." I need to know what is hidden, the answers to all my questions may lie inside those doors long since shut tight.

But what if, what if those doors were permanently closed for a reason? The self preservation, fail safe mechanism I spoke of earlier? What if there is some traumatic memory lying inside that I so desperately need to keep shut and forgotten. If the door is open, will it cause so much mental anguish for me that I may never recover? Get really pissed at someone for doing me such an incredible injustice that I seek to do them bodily harm in retaliation? The answers to these questions will only come when the keys are found. When the music is associated with the memory. When that dam door is open and I can once again live whatever that was that caused my system to lock it down, shut it off and keep it from me.

Wait! Isn't it my brain? My memories? My body? Shouldn't it be me who decides if those doors should remain closed or open? Should not I be the one who peeks inside, sorts through the mess and comes out clean? It is my brain and I own it so should it not obey me and provide the answer to the keys location? GIVE ME MY DAM KEYS!!!

What right does my brain have denying me access to my memories? Isn't it already messed up enough over the last 49 years that, we should both open the closets and clean them out together and maybe, just maybe, set things in proper order once again.

Our brains...grey matter organic computer. Ruler of the human body. Allowing me to think I am in charge of this fleshly container, but denying me access to all of its functions. Denying me the ability to heal myself and regenerate aging flesh. If we can create life, why can we not reverse the same?

Our brains...grey matter organic computer. Always tempting us to look for those doors it has hit from us. Drawing us to them, arousing curiosity but never allowing us to gain access knowing we can't live with something secret being hidden in plain view.

Until then, I will listen, carefully, over and over to the song. i will search random thought processes and access any bit of data I can from that aging grey matter dictator inside my skull. I will outsmart it and find the key, then those doors will be open and God have mercy on my brain on that day.

Random memories, thoughts, feelings, association with things hidden. Drawing me, tempting me, harassing me, arousing my inner curiosity. It's where dreams are kept. It's why we dream, why I dream. Downloading and filing memories while I sleep, vaporous clouds of memory solidified into a dream, one which fades as my eyes open.

Memories..hidden, covered up, long forgotten. It's where I wish to be, where I wish to explore. It's where answers come to light, revealing things to me my mind chose and or decided I need not know any longer.....It's where the wind blows.