Swallowing Pictures

grosvenor

“Deeper” was a word my mom used a lot. Not “more deeply,” but “deeper.”

“Remember deeper.” “Question deeper.” “Think deeper.” And always, always: “Love deeper.”

Mother was big on impressing upon my memory just who was the boss. She felt that the memories of most people were not utilized as well as they could be. She said that the memory was like a dog, and wanted to be trained. In fact, often, when I asked her to take a picture of a beautiful rock formation or sunset or lake or geyser or whatever else it was I wanted to remember from our journeys together, she’d just say, “Take a mind picture.”

The first time I remember taking a mind picture was in Kodachrome Basin State Park, when we were living in Utah. I wanted her to get a shot of the Grosvenor Arch, with the sunset pouring through it like a waterfall, but she was out of film. She threw her arm around me and said, “You take a mind picture, and I’d better take one too. Yes, that’s right. This scene is just too beautiful not to be saved for posterity.”

So we stood, side by side, both awed by the beauty of the great rock formations and the once-in-a-lifetime sunset.

“Okay, my darling. Do you know what you want the picture of?”

“Yes.” With my eyes I tried to catch the colors of the over-heated rainbow flowing down through the Arches and onto me.

“Are you looking at your picture right now?”

“Yes.” I squinted my eyes.

“Do you see the colors?”

“Yes!”

“Can you see the frame?”

“Yes!”

“Do you see the picture exactly?”

“Yes, Mother, yes!”

“Good. Now concentrate with all your might. Remember every ridge. Memorize every detail. Replicate every hue in your imagination. You got it?”

“Yes! I see it!”

“Good. Then get ready to swallow it. We’re going to swallow our pictures, okay? You ready? 1, 2, 3. swallow… Now!”

I swallowed. Then giggled. She giggled too, but took two more Swallowing Pictures before she said, “You will remember this Arch forever, because you have impressed it into your mind, my darling Tami. You just took a picture that can never be destroyed, stolen, or lost. You just took a picture that you can take with you wherever you go, forever, and no one can ever take it away from you.”

It makes me wonder if she knew, somehow, how my life would turn out.

train-tracks-at-sunset-huge

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