I do not completely understand the purpose of remembering things. I know the ability can be useful sometimes. One time I buried a perfectly good rabbit skeleton next to an old, bug filled log. Several weeks later, I found myself wanting a rabbit skeleton to chew on in the middle of the night. I did not have one immediately, so I used a series of images and smells I remembered to go out and fetch the rabbit skeleton I buried by the log. If I had not had those memories, I would have had to find a brand new rabbit skeleton to chew on. Rabbit skeletons are not very easy to find.
However, for every rabbit skeleton my memories retrieve for me, they also do something that is not so useful or pleasant. All too often, I find myself suddenly remembering something terribly embarrassing for absolutely no reason. Even without putting any effort towards retrieving the memory, I will randomly be reminded of something I do not want to think about. I recently stopped lapping up water mid-drinking because remembering the time I accidentally ate a bee and it stung the inside of my cheek made me feel so embarrassed that I was felt stunned.
Why bother being able to remember embarrassing things? I already made the mistake or recovered from the particular instance of lapsed judgment, so why make me relive it? It seems like a cruel thing for memories to do. I suppose memories want you to be reminded so you will not make the same mistake again in the future, but surely there must be a better way to remind me of that than to make me relive my embarrassment and pain in such great detail.
There are other moments when memories fail to do what they are best at, which is reminding you of something. They might only remind you of parts of something important or just minute details that do not add up to a whole, coherent image. Memories will often only deliver moments of your life to your mind in sporadic, nearly nonsensical chunks. Fragments you have to put together as best you can. Pieces that will never quite fit together no matter how desperately you want them to.
I know I have not always been a single, lone bear. I know, at some point in my life, there were other bears with me. Large bears. Bears my size. Bears who licked the top of my head while I rested by the riverside. Bears who stood up on their hind legs with me, hurling their paws at my face in a playful manner. Bears who kept me safe. Kept me company. Kept me warm.
Those memories, the ones of the bears who must have been an important part of my life at some point, are scattered and difficult to recall. Those are the memories I want to recall, though. Those are the thoughts I want to be randomly reminded of while I sip river water. The fragments of those thoughts are so difficult to hold together, though. Sometimes I even doubt they are real. Maybe I made them up myself. I do not know.
I am still grateful that my head lets me have memories, though. Despite how painful or distant some of them might be, there are still many that are an absolute joy to have and cherish. One of my favorites happened late in the afternoon of an otherwise very regular day. The sun, with its lovely warmth and glow, was beginning to rest into the horizon. At the same time, the moon, with its proudly pale light, was beginning to rise from the horizon. For a little while, the two giants, who normally represented completely different feelings and ideas and temperatures for me, shared the sky above the trees. I stared at the scene for as long as it persisted.
Then a tiny a gnat got caught in my eye, a part of that memory that I feel more distinctly and vividly than any other from that moment.
You can read more bear thoughts by clicking these lovely blue words.