A little over a year ago while vacationing in the Pacific, I bought a single flower from the street vendor that caught my eye. That period of time in my life, when I look back now without biased perspective, was sweet as well as bitter. There was little reason to purchase something delicate and beautiful as means to preserve this sort of memory.
The recollections of my past, though few, are difficult to casually examine. For me, memories are like dreams that you try to grasp after waking. They are the dreams that remain clear for mere seconds, before fading into vague blurs after a trivial distraction of thought. They are the dreams that are so enjoyable and seem so important that you feel obligated to record them in a journal of some sorts, lest you forget them after a days work.
I do not keep a journal or diary for my memories; I haven't the time nor interest to dedicate energy into recounting daily events. As Lady Roosevelt once said: "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." I'd like to imagine my own mind as great, no matter how small it is in reality. And so I have found different methods to stimulate the retrieval of precious memories. A seashell, a clay figurine, a trinket, a souvenir, a card, or even a Christmas ornament. The mind is strange, often responding to the slightest of stimuli; mine is no different. I make it a habit of collecting odd, simple reminders from my past. One shelf in my room is dedicated to these reminders, to ensure that none of my carefully kept reminders are lost to the dusty wormholes in my room.
A single flower, when I glance at it again now, can bring back a whirlwind of emotion. It rests there on my cluttered desk, away from my memory shelf, simply because when I brought it back I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. I had carried it carefully onto the plane, but I never understood my purpose in bringing it back or caring for it so diligently. Should I have left the flower behind? Should I have not even paid for it and left it in the sellers hands? Did it even matter? The fact was I was home and the flower was here too.
I knew it was there. I knew the flower would always be there, never changing, never dying; it would always be just as it had been when I first saw it; still beautiful; still delicate; perhaps it will always be so. For now, that woven flower made of dried palm leaves remains resting on my desk. I've changed. The many priorities and people in my life have only multiplied, but as a person I have morphed into someone different. I've kept my flower to remind me not only of the past, but of the things I have learned in that last, lessons that have changed the me from before into the me I am now.
Now, what does one hold onto? Now, when one is more fortunate; when one is more appreciative of fortune; when one is sure of more misfortune arriving, now what does one attempt to hold onto? As their lives begin to improve, as fortune is made from misfortune, as change brings joy to one's life, what mustn't I forget? I must be careful, for some flowers have thorns to protect themselves. I must be wary, for flowers are very vain. I must never, ever forget the flower that always rests upon my desk. The never growing, never fading flower that I paid for on a ridiculously sunny day. I mustn't forget the memories. To forget would be to return to the me from before. To forget the memory of misfortune would be to lack understanding of fortune, and I would only have to step back to see the present crumble into nothing.
Now, I ask of my memories a simple question: what will it take to climb to the stars that speak of the future?