Friday, May 09, 2008

Experiments and Memory

Last night as I was taking my weekly experiment photo, I thought my view hadn’t changed much in a week. I was even tempted to forego posting a photo this week so I wouldn’t bore everyone with a view that hadn’t changed. But then when I looked at last week’s photo, I couldn’t believe how many changes there were--all of which goes to show why I’m doing this little experiment in the first place.

This week I’ve completely lost my view of the hilltop, and I can no longer see the big boulder that sits halfway up the hill, either. The entire forest just looks so much more lush in this week’s photo. The change is really amazing, I think.

And yet, when I walked to my spot last evening, the view didn’t initially strike me as a landscape that had changed much from the previous week. Memory is a weak thing, easily led by gradual, daily changes into not noticing the bigger differences. Photos are proof of that.

Is it a good thing or a bad thing, this lack of specificity or the remembering of detail in our memories? I am inclined to total up the balance sheet and wish I didn’t forget the details. I am afraid that in the middle of winter, I will forget the sweet smell of spring. In summer I fear I won’t remember the crunch of snow in January. And with climate change, I’m afraid the snow of January will soon be little more than a weak memory here where I live.
If I can't remember how the woods where I live and walk every day looks from week to week, how am I going to remember the snow?

6 comments:

Cicero Sings said...

Worrying about not remembering snow? ... we had some yesterday!! Come for a visit.

Cathy said...

I'm finally filling now too! However, the little evil gypsy caterpillar are now coming out too. Maybe this year I'll get lucky and today's heavy rain drown them!

pablo said...

For me at least, blogging is one way to store these kinds of memories for enjoying later.

Dana Jones said...

This would be cool to put these in sequence after one year and then make a video of them, like a scene from a time lapse camera.

Ruth said...

This is a great idea. The change is really significant.

Carolyn H said...

Pablo: Blogging is my way of storing these memories too.

Dana: I plan to put the experiment photos together at some point, but it won't be as a video, just a sequence of photos, probably.

Ruth: it's been fun to watch the forest change. I was planning to stop once the leaves were at the fullest, but I might not. I want to see the leaves turn that deep green of midsummer and perhaps do it all the way through fall, too.

Carolyn H.