A Lightning Bolt Struck My Befuddled Mind.
Recently, I had an exquisite Baja sunset conversation. The sky was ablaze with every color of the rainbow. Silhouetted whales were breaching. My friend and I stumbled through a conversation. I say stumbled because we were talking about things we forget.
“I lose names,” she said, “Then nouns, then verbs, and all I’m left with is a stable of adjectives.”
At that moment, I loved those adjectives. They were like a collection of gorgeous ponies. My mouth gaped open as I shouted, “Magnificent…sublime…ethereal…sumptuous.”
Yes, our memory ain’t what it used to be. But what we lose in recall, we gain in holistic or systemic thinking—an ability to connect the dots. I can now marvel at the awe-inducing bigger picture as I allow myself to deviate from the lockstep of the logic lane. In this state, I am dumbfounded (a truly curious word), astonished, and ripe for epiphanies, or what we call at the Modern Elder Academy, our Baja Aha moments.
My memory still has some value as it conjured up this jewel from former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins. It’s aptly called “Forgetfulness.”
The name of the author is the first to go
Followed obediently by the title, the plot,
The heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
Which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
Never even heard of,
As if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
Decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
To a little fishing village where there are no phones.
Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
And watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
And even now as you memorize the order of the planets,
Something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
The address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.
Whatever it is you are struggling to remember
It is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
Not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.
It has floated away down a dark mythological river
Whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
Well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
Who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.
No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
To look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
Out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.