In Harry Potter, the magical Pensieve is an object used to review memories. It contains the memories of people who have poured forth their recollections into it. Professor Dumbledore suggested that they could then be sifted through and examined at leisure, perhaps with new perspective.
Our trip was our Pensieve. It allowed us to fully immerse ourselves in the memories stored from a distant place and time possessing the distinctive vantage point of maturity with which to carefully examine them. Thomas Wolf said that “You can’t go home again”…. but you most certainly can go back.
We went back to find a time in our youth when life was all in front of us. We called this trip our search for the Young American Couple, a cherished moniker bestowed upon us by our Dickensian landlady decades prior. Our marriage was shiny and new then. Our hopes and dreams had no limits. And when we found that place in our Pensieve, our hearts remembered. We were both quite overwhelmed with the unexpected emotions that spontaneously sprang forth to be standing in those spots again. There were tears of joy with the rediscovery of where WE started and a thankfulness born of the shared sentimental response. The physical reminders evoked an avalanche of vignettes long forgotten by us. There is something called muscle memory which allows us to repeat movements without thought. We found an emotional memory. It was a priceless exhortation that those passions that have been banked for awhile are still within us ready to spring forth. Our love is still shiny and our dreams still need not have limits.
We went walking about and met people whose past was interwoven with our own. If ever in doubt of how we humans are all connected in this journey of ours, just wander around and converse with those who cross your path. You will be amazed.
We went into an old flat we once lived above an Antique Store. The space conjured up images of old furniture and token purchases from our first real home together. We found the old vicarage, our second home there, that has not changed an iota in over 35 years…not a single brick nor even the color of the door. It probably looked the same for the preceding centuries before we came to know it and place it in our timeline. There is comfort in that….a familiar continuity. In the exploration of those places, we also discovered a kind of pride that we had been so young and yet marched forward as strangers in a strange land to carve out our beginnings. Perhaps it was because of our youth and inexperience, we didn’t know how difficult it was and yet, we persevered.
It was here that we received the delightful news that we were expecting our first child and reveled in the miraculous details that ensued. It was here that we welcomed our son into the world and took on the best role of our lives – parenthood. It was here that we became a …family. The Pensieve offered up those memories flooding us with the encompassing love embedded in them.
Our life has had its ups and downs…as all lives do…but we realized that we would not change a single thing…because changing just ONE thing… would change everything. In many ways, it was a reboot for this season of our life. Sometimes we allow the world to beat down our aspirations or even tell us that it is too late. It… is… not.
“ Look not at the days gone by with a forlorn heart. They were simply the dots we can now connect with our present, to help us draw the outline of a beautiful tomorrow.” ~Dodinsky