So Much to Remember

The partly open hay barn door, white frame around the darkness,
the broken board, small enough for a child
to slip through.

Walking in the cornfields in late July, green tassels overhead,
the slap of flat leaves as we pass, silent
and invisible from any road.

Hollyhocks leaning against the stucco house, peonies heavy
as fruit, drooping their deep heads
on the dog house roof.

Lilac bushes between the lawn and the woods,
a tractor shifting from one gear into
the next, the throttle opened,

the smell of cut hay, rain coming across the river,
the drone of the hammer mill,
milk machines at dawn.

~Joyce Sutphen, “The Last Things I’ll Remember” from First Words

There are so many memories we keep stored in our neurons; some we revisit regularly through reminiscing, day dreams, night dreams or story telling. Other memories remain buried and untouched. I like to think the last things we remember are those we return to again and again, unlocked by a smell, a taste, or a music passage. Even those with the worst memory loss can sometimes sing a hymn or recite a poem or verse of scripture without hesitation.

Thanks to our Creator, we each have a reservoir of vivid memories we can draw from during the driest and darkest moments of our lives. When we are lost and discouraged, they will take us home again.


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