Wonders of Memory: How to Take a Photo With Your Mind

Topics: Adventures

Remember that old snarky saying? Take a picture–it will last longer? I’m not so sure about that.

Last weekend, I stood at the bar looking across the banquet room, past the wedding party table full of delightful people I recently met and the table filled with people I have loved for decades. Beyond that, Commencement Bay shimmered beyond the sixth floor deck in the light of the setting sun. Giant cranes from the Port of Tacoma stood in the distance and behind them the houses on the hills of northeast Tacoma glittered with the light of the sun. Against the dark clouds behind them, seagulls also reflected golden sunlight, whirling and flashing at me. It was nothing short of magical.

I could barely breathe from the beauty of it and ached to take a photo. But I did not. I knew nothing I could manage with an iPhone from my back-of-the-room perspective would come close. So, instead, I drank it in, memorizing each detail and promised myself I would write this.

Once a long time ago, I went camping with my best friend. I think we were around twelve years old. And I think we went to Lake Cushman on the Olympic Peninsula. That day we played in a creek at the base of a ravine and again the sunlight sparkled on the water with our pants rolled up and every item of extra clothing off in the heat.

Colleen had a way of bringing imagination and fantasy to the every day and that day she suggested that we take a picture with our minds to stick the memory. We stood ankle-deep in the creek as the water flowed around us, gazing at the summer leaves and listening to the birds, mentally memorizing every tree branch and rock.

I remember nothing else of that trip. But I can still see that place vividly. What’s more, I can feel it.

And now I have that image of glowing Tacoma from the Landmark Convention Center. I bet it will even last longer than if I had taken a picture.

Thanks, Colleen, wherever you are. I still remember.



About the author: Karrie Zylstra Myton is a blogger, essayist, and aspiring author who writes for the wild joy it brings on the best days and the hard lessons she learns about life on the worst. After crafting stories in the ridiculously early morning hours, she chases her two sons, cuddles with cats, and laughs with her husband about how crazy life can get in middle age.

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