Sisters in Scripture
One Perfect Memory    06/23/2021
"Hold on tight to my hand. Now close your eyes and tip your head back.” I placed my six-year-old hand into my dad’s palm, and he tightened his fingers gently around. I closed my eyes and smiled. But tipping my head back caused me to tense.

"It’s okay. I’ll hang on to you. Let’s take a walk along this sidewalk. I want you to notice what it’s like with your eyes closed.”

We were outside Nana’s big old house on Coleman Street. The sidewalk was lined with ancient oak trees whose branches arched over the walkway and whose roots pushed the concrete upward at nearly every seam. Don’t step on the crack; you’ll break your mother’s back, Terry and I would sing-song as we hopped over each cement edge. I was used to jumping over them on my bike or tracing out hopscotch around them. They added to the adventure either way, but they had also caused more than one skinned knee, followed by the sting of Bactine. 

"What if I fall?” I asked my dad.

"I have a hold of you; I won’t let you fall.”

"But I could still trip…” 

"I will catch you if you do. Trust me.”

Assured, I tipped back my head and slowly we moved forward. At first my thoughts were on my feet, trying to anticipate the next step. But my father’s firm grip and reassuring voice compelled me forward. I discovered my feet had a kind of body memory for this familiar plot of walkway. Two steps and then up, two steps and then up—just like peddling the bike, only slower.  

"What do you notice?” he asked me.

"That I haven’t fallen?”

He laughed. "No, you haven’t fallen, and you won’t. Don’t worry. What else do you notice? What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel?”

I felt the wind, a soft, late summer breeze. It had the slight scent of salt from Long Island Sound, not that far away. I heard it rustle the leaves overhead, a lovely swooshing sound that filled my ears. There were birds calling and fluttering in the branches. There must have been the zing of an occasional car going by, but it did not register, or I no longer remember. What I do remember was that the dappled sunlight flickering through the leaves created a dance of light and dark upon my closed eyelids. Brilliant flashes and deep darkness back and forth. Colors that appeared and disappeared. It was a movie screen inside my head! I giggled slightly.

"What’s so funny?” Dad asked.

"The light is tickling my eyes!” I felt Dad’s hand squeeze mine. 

A perfect memory. I have only to close my eyes to recreate it. This morning, I sat on my deck in the early Arkansas morning with songbirds at the feeder and brilliant sunshine glancing off deep green leaves. I tilted back my head just enough to feel the familiar warmth of sun and cool of breeze upon my upturned face. Ah, just like when, I think, and I close my eyes to recall. 

Sometimes I go a bit further... 

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