[Memory can cause] us suddenly to breathe a new air, an air which is new precisely because we have breathed it in the past...which could induce so profound a sensation of renewal only if it has been breathed before, since the true paradises are the paradises that we have lost. - Proust
Is it paradise that we seek? One paradise we are told we have lost is Eden, and all because of that darn snake. Perhaps the snake is fortuitous after all, for even today, the snake awakens our reptilian brain, invoking remembrance of the shadowy territories that shape our lives with known and the unfathomable realities of the unknown.
Our natural and material surroundings are embedded with memories of all who have traversed before us. I walk onto a bridge and see locks clinging to its wire wall, whispering thousands of overlapping love stories. Yet when I look beyond the metal fence and down the river, I see further into the past, and the two narratives of past and present intertwine.
As I walk, eyes cast downward, I venture into a deep meditative state. I notice the simple and profound grace before me: the stones, tree stumps, ferns and seaweed become treasures that I admire. In their sublime beauty I sense the stories of sacred communities, universal feelings of love and pain, and expressions of our interdependence.