My Cosmos: A Memory Association Exercise
(according to Professor Gregory L. Ulmer, at the University of Florida, one may find and reveal something, subconsciously, by mapping his life)
Okay English nerds, for whom I write this. And art(sy) majors? Here’s my “cosmogram,” or personal sphere. This is the path I’ve traveled.
Subtract the map, flip the picture, and you get the below picture.
This would be my “Logo,” as an individual.
To interpret the image,
I like to think it’s a tree, casting a shadow.
You see, a tree invites beauty, changes (with the seasons), undergoes death and rebirth, and always offers a better view.
If you are brave enough to climb the tree, you gain a new perspective. You can see farther. You even see things up close, differently.
The tree stands tall, reaching out for light, grasping before anyone else, and casts a shadow. The shadow provides constant reminder for others to look up.
When considering shadows….One cannot move forward without leaving something behind. We all hope to leave an impression on others, during our lifetime. The more we grow, the more we do so.
I don’t know, maybe trees just hold a positive connotation for me. Climbing trees with my brothers was one of my favorite pastimes growing up. Like branches, when I see one, they’re a storehouse of linked memories. So, I’m pretty biased.
My brother Drew took this picture of me climbing one of our Texas Red Cedar trees in the front yard.
We had two of them. To date, I don’t think there’s a better tree built for climbing. All the limbs extend at almost perfect 180 degree angles, are thin, spaced apart like steps, within reach, and fairly low to the ground. You could climb it all the way to the top if you wanted. It even provides a blanket of interior protection, if you wanted dress up in camo, hide from somebody, and pretend to be an army sniper – shooting the neighborhood dogs. (Don’t worry, they were only pretend pop-guns. But you can bet it still scared the passing neighborhood girls!)
I used to climb this one all the time growing up. I have dreams about it all the time. I’m not sure why. The people who live there now cut the tree’s down, so I guess that’s irony for ya. But I always go back there in my mind, subconsciously, as a sort of defining time in my boyhood where much exploration happened in my life, always in pursuit of the furthest reaching branches and highest viewpoint.
Wow, there you go. Somehow, I got all of that from some incoherent lines on strewn across a map. That’s how memory association works. You dig a tiny bit below the surface, tap into it, and the rest comes bursting out from the reservoir, with little effort. That’s how our brain works. It can’t hold everything up front at once. It stores it in the back, next to other memories. It’s like a reference catalog for books in a library. It would take forever to search for one book, without looking up the section. But once you find it, the surrounding volumes are similar. Maybe even helpful.