“Une memoire sans souvenir.” –Michael Foucault, on the texts of Marguerite Duras
I went walking yesterday. It’s something that I truly enjoy, something that I rarely do. When I was hit by an SUV last April, I could only walk and use public transit for a week (and using public transit in Atlanta requires walking– stations and bus lines are never close to anything…besides maybe the art museum). And it was so relaxzing. Well, relaxing in an “I look like a zombie because I’m missing half of my face and it really hurts to move my cheek” kind of way. But the weather was beautiful, the bus drivers fun to chat with, and my feet were free.
I sold my car in August 2006 and decided to ride my bicycle everywhere in an attempt to become more organically involved in the world around me. It worked for awhile, but I’ve realized that I get road-rage on my bike too and that I feel hurried as I pedal from place to place. I think some of this may have to do with the novelty wearing off. I’m entering my second winter without a car–and while that’s exciting, it’s also blase. Yes, it will be time soon enough to pull out my handkerchiefs for my face, my fingered gloves, my coat (which unfortunately lost its waterproofing…maybe it’s time to buy a new one). This summer I swore that I liked riding in the cold better than the heat. However, I avoided heat stroke this summer, but last winter I definitely picked up a nice case of strep throat thanks to my bike.
Note to self: stock up on tea for the coming months.
Even though I sold my car to be more involved in the environment around me, I’m realizing that I’m not. That’s why walking yesterday was so wonderful. Granted, I could only walk because I skipped class…which I did again today…but I needed it.
I dubbed yesterday my “worry-free” day and it was. I worry too much. I’m too stressed out. So I walked. I discovered. I snapped pictures. I talked with a friend that I don’t see often enough these days.
My neighborhood has some crazy quirks too. Like the man-made hill a couple of houses down from me. That’s where the gravel and kudzu and yellow flowers and broken fence live. I found poetry tagged under a bridge. I found gardens blooming and trees not changing colors yet–when will autumn find the South?
I also found some of myself. I took the time to think, to remember. Marguerite Duras said that “Memory, in any case, is a failure. You know, what I deal with is always the memory of having forgotten. You know you’ve forgotten, that’s what memory is.”
Forgetting…remembering…memory…I think she’s right. I know that I’ve forgotten Adam. That’s why remembering him, to the degree that I can, is so painful. I’ve moved on. I’m a completely different person than the girl he knew and fell in love with–and I always wish that I could tell him that.
So maybe being organically involved in the world isn’t necessarily the mode of transportation but the connection I have to myself. And that connection is outwardly manifested by my involvement in the world–either by walking or riding my bike. But walking, I do believe, is the perfect way to remember.