“Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
It’s said that we humans create memories by our brains making neural-networks meant to capture moments. Such networks connect a myriad of pieces … touch, smells, light, color, and the “feelings” experienced in those captured moments. Our brains assemble them and their impact upon our bodies so that moments may be “relived” once again sometime along our journey. These packages of memories are placed upon our library shelves, awaiting retrieval and recall … recall triggered by a host of possible conditions.
I have many such packages resting upon my shelves. But there is one deeply etched, emotion filled collection that revisits me often. A trigger … a song … “Colors of the Wind” … consistent in its ability to reach and retrieve a collection of memories surrounding a powerful moment in my life plays out with predictable consistency. When played, this song evokes a memory package producing sharp, clear, and deeply penetrating reactions … relived feelings no different than those original feelings at the inception of this memory.
Max … a “big old” Malamute mix … a wonderfully loving dog … left me and my former spouse one late evening many years ago. His body had been suddenly stricken by a condition diagnosed too late to correct, and even though emergency surgery finally occurred, the damage done simply overwhelmed his body’s ability to bounce back.
His final passing took time, and time allowed us to comfort his suffering and impart to him the deep, penetrating love we held for him … this creature of the earth. It was the first, powerful journey I had shared with death, and I learned that it was a privileged moment as I sat on the floor of the veterinary hospital cradling his head in my lap … softly stroking his rich, grey fur as his eyes slowly became empty. To this day, when the trigger recalls the memories, I “feel” the sharp, emotional sting of the moment while also deeply feeling the magic of he and I looking into each other’s eyes and reaching into what seemed some deeper place of connection … a place rarely visited … a place where souls touch.
Though it took me years to fully understand what Max gave me in those final, shared moments, I learned that late evening that love can take only the forms we give it. I learned that opening one’s heart and allowing one’s soul to flow from within to some other place … some shared, connected place … is possible within the human condition. I learned that such a connection, even when incredibly sad, sears a uniquely indelible image of memories that never seem to soften yet always seem to enrich. This special memory … gathering of sensations … neural-network of the brain is now carried with me as though it lives. When triggered, it brings forth a vividly clear reliving of a powerful experience along my journey. And each time this occurs, I am gently reminded of how touching souls in love can change one’s personal fabric forever.
“Here Max! Come here boy!” … come remind me of how deeply one can love. “Good boy … good boy …”