86400 seconds ago was yesterday. How many of them do you remember? There were many other days. What of them do you remember and what have you forgotten? What does your memory look like?
Like a garden? Then how many annual rings ago did you first feel your vulnerability?
Like an attic? How many meters of cobweb ago did you feel confused and helpless?
Like ruins? Then how many stones ago your love was ruined?
It seems that it was when … It seems that it was then … It seems that it was … It seems …
The memory of one becomes the memory of thousands of other people, just as numerous feathers becomes a wing, and words written to someone become ashes. Similarly, wounds inflicted on one are absorbed by the others.
Maurice Halbwachs when introducing the term “collective memory” emphasized that this memory does not exist outside of social frames and that the shift or disintegration of these frames leads to some changes in personal memory and even forgetting. The deeper the trauma is repressed into the public unconscious, the less it looks like a trauma, and we do not understand how it affects us. The affective saturation of the direct participant in the event is softened and stereotyped by repeating the story about it. Subsequent representation turns affect into ambivalence, and then into collective memory. The history of wars, revolutions, catastrophes, repressions and destructions expands the space of collective trauma and burns traces in the memory of society.
How do you take care of your garden of memories? Perhaps when wandering through this garden, you speak with people from the past in your thoughts, and their words turn into ashes, and you are trying to preserve it. Perhaps their voices still sound like a looped audio recording in your heart. Perhaps your pain is beating like a bird, and you collect its feathers, which fall to the ground. Perhaps your memories hurt you like broken glass.
You entered into this garden when the trees were big. Trees can keep memories. Time tries to erase emotions, faces, feelings, and even the most powerful experiences. What remains with us after the trauma? Can we save our identity? Do you have an answer? Then tell me, is it possible to erase the memory? Does it hurt? What is harder — to erase the memory or to survive the pain of loss? Can we influence the garden of our memories, can we hide in it?
Perhaps after a certain time you may forget this text, as you have already forgotten the flowers on the windows in your parents’ apartment, your tears after the first fall, the taste of homemade cake, the smile of a friend after a successful joke, the smell of road after the rain … Perhaps after a certain time you may forget this voice … and individual sensory perception will also give way to collective.
Someday we will be left by everyone we love. Someday there will be nobody left, even us. Even the memory about us. It seems that we enter into our garden. Be. In memoriam.