Tag Archives: aging

spring and forgotten memories

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Google says this is a cherry blossom. I didn’t know that, though I’ve watched these trees for years. I can tell you that the hyraxes love the fruit. I haven’t tried them myself… yet.

When my dear old mother was in her 90s, she used to preface many a story by mentioning what a fine memory she used to have… but it was gone now. Every time she would say that, it saddened me. Why did she have to say that over and over again. I knew she had had a fine memory once. I knew that she had lost much of it. Was she trying to excuse herself for her lapses? Was she apologizing? Whatever it was, I wished she wouldn’t mention it then, because it pained me to think of the decline. After all, I was moving into old age myself. It could have been that she didn’t remember she had said that to me many times before.

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wild grasses growing on a vacant lot near my home

Now it’s my turn. I have begun to lose memory… though my doctor tells me its nothing to worry about, and that the process begins at about 30, at this point I have just begun to be aware of it. I always had a catalogue of my photography, but for many years it just catalogued which photos were shot for which customers and where the negatives were. Then at some point, I started recording where certain ‘art’ photographs were. I didn’t really have to because I remembered just about every photo I had shot, and when… but since I had a catalogue anyway, I started writing down where the negative or digital file was kept. But there were so many pictures, that there was no point in writing down everything. So I just wrote down the ones that I thought I might look for later.

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the redbud tree flowers at the beginning of spring

Then this morning, I was planning to write about early spring. There is one scene that typifies the very start of the season for me. It is when the very first shoots of grass push out of the dirt on the barren hills of Benjamin or in the northern Negev. It doesn’t look so much like grass from up close. It isn’t that dense. But from a distance you can clearly see the green color on the hills. I know I’ve photographed the phenomenon many times… but looking for it this morning, in albums and in my catalogue, I was unable to find an example. It’s not the first time that has happened. Sometimes I want to write about something, and look for a good illustration… and though I remember a specific photo, I am no longer able to remember where it can be found in my archives.

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snap dragons growing out of the stone wall

Today, the failure of my search for that example distressed me. I started wondering, what would I do if I could no longer find the photos I needed as illustrations. Was this reason enough to stop writing? And then it occurred to me, that I could work the other way. I could look through my collection of photographs, and find a few that brought back memories… This time, I’ll  share some pictures from last week. The holiday of Passover is just a week ahead. And for me, that is springtime at its best. These are the signs of spring in my immediate environment.

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I’ve also included this old picture of Nechama enjoying the wild grass that used to grow behind my old home. It’s a fond memory. Like her, I’ve always preferred wild grasses, though their season is relatively short in our country.

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buried in the past

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mother looking at old pictures

Very real, I suppose, like dreams can be real…
a dear old friend appeared to me last night
unraveled from my back pages by an experience yesterday
that pushed all the rules and proportions aside
for how long… I have no idea…
talking to my hundred and one year old mother
and this was real life; no dream …
realizing, as we spoke
that she was absolutely certain,
that I was her husband, my father…
dead these past years
don’t think it matters
that I look like him now, that I’ve grown old
in my youth I looked very much like her
there are these surprises along the way
that we never could have guessed
not that it makes much difference, it seems to me,
just how I look… though it could have helped convince her
the way in which we talked…
it was probably a lot like she talked to him…
and of course, she wanted to believe…
it was easiest on that hot afternoon
with her memory gone, and life very tenuous…
but then… in the night
talking to Zelig… he’s dead too… gone
there’s no bringing him back
but in the dream, he was smiling as he talked…
we were comparing the sensual experience
and the rational expectation of the experience itself
and when he smiled, I touched his hand for a minute…
just to assure myself that he was really there
because I think that even in the dream,
I feared that he was dead
he looked me in the eye… thinking that my touch
was an illustration of the sensual experience
and went on to say
that for the true experience of faith
one had to relinquish all support from the rational

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many years ago, Zelig

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myself