A Story I Will Try To Tell Without Words

"Smell"
by Sleeping at Last, from Atlas: Year Two (themes explained)

is this the part where the brain scan shows where memories reside,
some ambiguous shape in me, suddenly producing light.
triggered like a trip wire every time i breathe it in,
isn’t it strange that a lilac tree is what unlocks where i’ve been.

like a time machine rebuilds the past, my memories return.
like remembering the ashes before they burned.

it is the friction that lights a match,
desperate attempts that make it last.
so i hold my breath for as long as i can.

but before long, the wind swells in.
i started a that  fight i could never win,
but i will hold on as long as i can.

it vanishes against my will,
the light goes out, my heart goes still,
and just like that, i believe in ghosts.

time and space are at my back
performing disappearing acts,
but now i can’t escape the smell of smoke.

the research says that the only way to keep memories in tact
is to lock them away and to close the door until countless years have passed.
i guess that explains why the strangest things can conjure up the past,
and forgotten time will find its long way back. 

as thin as air, as light as snow
some combination of the unknown,
but it doesn’t matter, i just know i need more.

‘cause i feel like i’ve been sleeping through the better part of this, 
laying dormant through an endless winter that doesn’t even exist.

it’s gravity in an hourglass
responsible for the avalanche
and the loudest silence that i’ve ever heard.

a memory clear as a bell,
a story i will try to tell
but maybe this time, without words.


From “How It was Made" by Ryan O'Neal

A few years ago I heard an episode of one of my favorite podcasts, Radiolab about memory. One of the stories was about how memory is like a cassette tape, the more we replay it the more it wears out and the details fade. Our brains start to fill in the gaps with details that aren’t usually very accurate. This also speaks to when people have repressed memories, or blocked memories, often times that memory will find it’s way back, and when it does, it is shockingly well preserved (for better or worse.) All this to say, memory is pretty fascinating and complex.

"‘cause i feel like i’ve been sleeping through the better part of this, 
laying dormant through an endless winter that doesn’t even exist."

Sometimes, when I feel like I've lost control of some part of my life, I wear myself out trying to regain some sense of control to the point of shutting down. Almost like an unhealthy hibernation. So, this line serves as a gentle reminder to myself to wake up, to not allow myself to sleep through the better parts of my life.