One Single Impression: Faded Memories

When the mid-January smell of winter is too much
And the glare of too much light
On too deep snow blinds me,
I lean back and open wide
To drink the rain of a February memory....
A night a dance a boy and me

There is little left of that memory..
The exact time, who else, what music, and how
Washed away years ago...

But the feeling remains:
A night a dance a boy and me
Hearts free from bruises
Pulse to the delightful beat of possibility...
All life, all life ahead...

There is a photo:
All light and life remain
Though our faces have faded with age.
It hardly matters now:
I lean back, open wide,
And stay in that moment
Way past curfew

When January is too much with me.

The thought of the words "faded memories" at once makes me think of any one of my photo albums from the 1970s and 1980s. What happened with film processing back then that images seem to be dissolving in a puddle of fading color right on the photographic paper? I have photos from high school that are all but gone. I look at them and see that they are perfect metaphors for the experiences they capture. Time is a fluid medium in the art of remembering. It is not fast or certain in any way. It changes. Hard moments soften over time; soft moments acquire edges they never had before. Memory and being alive to the learning that every experience presents over and over again makes of life a work of continuously changing, ever-expanding art. I think. At least it seems that way with my memories. I think this is why the same old stories told round the dinner table after a holiday meal are never the same old stories. They are always new.

One Single Impression


  1. Anonymous7:44 AM

    I am conscious that when I now recall something that happened very early in my life, I'm not remembering the event itself, but my previous recollection of it, if that makes sense. You have captured the fluidity time imposes on memory very well.

  2. And isn't it funny how we find comfort in those same old stories even when we raise an eyebrow at a new embellishment.

  3. "I think this is why the same old stories told round the dinner table after a holiday meal are never the same old stories. They are always new."

    How true!!!!Can connect so much with this post.

  4. Anonymous8:51 AM

    .._that is the fun~of 'the law of the carousel'{original!}-finding something new to cherish in every repeated circle/cycle_as discussed in ur prose ~ & for sharing a delicately tender poem many thanks

  5. Anonymous9:05 AM

    January hard on you too, huh? I will have to try your idea.
    I laughed at your comments about the albums. We have books of faded and green folks, too.

  6. be sure and scan your old photos before they deteriorate any more-you can restore quite a bit with photoshop. beautiful words that we can all connect with...the promise of possibility-we need to never loose that. any thing is possible at any age. writing down your feelings captures them for future use and meditation on your own growth.

  7. This is beautiful, and it makes me a little bit sad, as I have no memories like this, and all my photos are lost in time --- and moving.

  8. Sandy, the poem is spectacular. I especially like the way you've repeated the wonderfully bareboned phrase: "A night a dance a boy and me." That so vividly captures the way our memory often works, only the most emotionally salient elements transcend time.

    However, I find your prose piece at the end even more inspiring. In particular, you comments about memory deserve to go into my little book of favorite quotes: "Time is a fluid medium in the art of remembering. It is not fast or certain in any way. It changes. Hard moments soften over time; soft moments acquire edges they never had before."

  9. january
    brumal tang of salt:
    wet mittens warm by the fire;
    cheeks whipped by hood strings

  10. People being cheap with the fixative agents?
    Chemicals could be (still are?) expensive.

  11. Anonymous1:01 PM

    Lovely images, so evocative.

    I leaned back in my chair, too, thinking about those "way past curfew" days!

  12. Another marvellous post. Those stories can so often be the beginnings of legend, too. One of the oldest human pastimes.

  13. May I have the next dance?

  14. Oh, I know! Mine are an ugly rust-colored mess.

    Peace - D

  15. january really is a boon to our memory indulgence...

  16. Sandy, you did good again! I have a new memory, I danced with the cutest (small and little, dressed in a black blouse and black slacks) young lady on the Queen Mary 2. She was light I could tell, waiting for my every lead. I will never forget her even without a picture. My camera was in my pocket or Mrs. Jim would have taken one for me.

    Oh yes, I should tell you, she was the ship's female dancer and this was in a dance class. I was having 'trouble' with doing the Charleston.

    I am glad you have a good February to remember, I may have had a good experience on February as it was cold outside when ...

    But then this January event will always be remembered.

  17. After my husband passed away, a truck pulled up in front of my house one day and this tall fellow stepped out.
    He was smiling as he walked up the steps to where I was sitting in a swing.
    He told me he had recently heard about the passing of my husband and he wanted to know if I recalled him.
    I let him know I did remember him and still had a photo of the two of us holding hands when we were sixteen.
    In a short time he seemed to want things as they were and started hinting at marriage.
    I let him know we were girl friend and boy friend in the past and that was as far as it would ever be for me even though we shared some good Fading Memories.

    I like your good drinks of good times...a tasty treat.

  18. Evocative! Aloha-

  19. There was such a gentle melancholy and yearning in this poem..I absolutely loved it. Your words move me deeply...thank you so much for your beautiful blog.

  20. You've captured the prompt beautifully Sandy. I really enjoyed reading this post, thank you friend. Hugs, G

  21. If the memories fade, that's fine as long as the happy times are what remain.Also, I like to create new ones-my school days are a lifetime ago!
    From your poem, I gather you had a good time then? It was a nice job.

  22. Your commentary is so true, Sandy! You won't believe this, but I just did a collage of memories from the 60's for Janice's (My Bellavia) Fading Memories post! They are screen captures from an old 8mm home movie our Dad took in our yard. The photos all have a blue tint, with no help from Photoshop!

  23. Sandy, what marvelous memories of a night long ago. you re-capture the spirit beautifully in this post. I always have a hard time getting through the month of February. Being able to remember a moment like that is a gift and a blessing. Thanks for sharing, it made my day.

  24. Sandy--
    This is a lovely poem that speaks so clearly to the quality of memory. I have the same experience with waking from a vivid dream. By the time the part of my brain kicks in to be able to talk about it or even write about it, there's a part of me that knows that the colors and aliveness are already fading, as when a rainbow trout, one minute alive and shimmery, is now dead, and already begins to brown and dull.

    Thank you!

  25. Indeed, there is nothing that remains the same forever. Beautiful poem and lovely prose which follows. Nice work!!

  26. I agree, time is a fluid medium in the art of remembering..contemplative-

  27. Anonymous4:04 PM

    i love your accompanying paragraphs. i never thought of this before but you are so right. about pictures.

  28. Your faded memories brought back to me mine. Thankl you for that, and what a wonderful thing to do in January.

  29. your memories are so well portraited...I love this writing!

  30. I like what you said about recalling memories.

  31. I really like what this poem says (to me): Let the memory be so, a sweet memory without attachment to everything else which has occurred since. Very nicely done.

  32. Anonymous12:22 PM

    Memories are amazing-they do let us re-live moments over and over. The good and the bad ones.

  33. Anonymous4:17 PM

    perfectly spoken, sandy... softening over time... fluxuation of emotions and our old photos...

  34. You leave me less unhappy that I have very few photos from my previous life. But I can lean back and recall a similar night. And that's enough.

  35. we can always divert our attention if the current weather / condition is against us. its always nice to be back to memories we cherish from time to time

  36. Anonymous1:22 AM

    perfect poem !!

  37. Anonymous7:13 PM

    Hi Sandy~ thanks so much for the comment on my site- really appreciate it! I love your blog- the pictures, the poetry...The Faded Memories is great~ I feel the same way. I dread pulling out my 70's and 80's pictures to see what a ruin they have become...and I had such fun then- I guess it's all just faded memories.

    Take care!



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