In my mind, the above is a misty scene. I remember taking this photo on a warmish winter night several years ago; a quick check of my blog and photo archives tells me I snapped the shot on February 3, 2006 and blogged it the day after. I don’t remember it being February, only foggy, and the above picture doesn’t capture any of the mist my mind so clearly remembers. Instead, there’s only damp pavement, a lone car, and the supernal glow of my local laundromat still open on a midwinter’s night.
This is the picture that captures the misty mystery of that February fog almost exactly two years ago:
This second picture captures the atmosphere of that two-years-ago February night more truly: it was the kind of night where you could see snow ghosts swirling above the streets, their presence blurring the normally piercing beams of traffic- and street-lights. But it’s that first picture of some lone soul doing Friday night laundry that resonated most deeply with me, perhaps because on most Friday nights two years ago I would have been sitting at home, a pile of papers being my version of a lonely late-night chore.
It’s strange how our memories are ultimately more misty than even the warmest mid-winter night. Now that I have photo and blog archives to refer to, I can nail down dates, times, and places in a way I previously couldn’t; if put on the witness stand with my laptop and an Internet connection, in most cases I could tell you where I was, what I photographed, and what I thought about on any given day. Without the record of my blog’s literary and photographic hatch-marks, however, everything would ultimately be subsumed in the mists of forgetfulness: was it two years ago or three that I went to that art opening, and was it in February or December? Left to my own devices, I’ll forget it all. With a blog and photo archives, at least, there’s some sort of definitive chronicle: oh, yes, of course. It was then, and I was there!
I’m not convinced that bolstering one’s own memory is the best reason to keep a blog, but it certainly is a convenient side-effect. This weekend, Leslee considered her not-very-Groundhog’s-Day-like existence, concluding that this year, unlike previous ones, “Everything is different now.” I don’t know if for me everything is different now compared to two foggy Februaries ago–I still teach the same classes at the same colleges, I still live down the street from the same laundromat, and I still spend too many weekend hours grading papers. But still, I no longer spend Friday nights alone in Keene, and these days I’m attending more sports events than art openings. Over time, given enough Februaries and the words and pictures that chronicle them, some things do change, and if we don’t record it all day-by-day, most of it will be lost to the fog of time, our memories being the most misty mystery of them all.