Opinion: Photographic memories

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Even as so much is changed, there is more that remains the same. We have accumulated a lifetime of memories, mementos and talismans that can, in an instant, take us back to a long ago and far-away time. We humans are cursed by our longing. We miss those apart from us and places where we cannot be. It brings us worry, anxiety and, in some circumstances, it can drive us into depression. Even so, we are blessed by our ability to reminisce our about past and imagine our future. 

For many, the weeks of shelter at home have been extended. And for all, evenings, time away from work and weekends are now providing new hours at home. Pretty much everything except for the outdoors is closed. If our angst allows, we sleep a bit more. We cook, eat and clean up – together. We remember old habits or form new ones. We think about what we do and why we do it. Experts urge that some of the abundance of time be used to clean up around the house. One might suppose that they secretly want us to move around. The sedentary life of home-office work doesn’t allow for the lengthy walk to get coffee or park the car. 

Closets are being emptied. Old clothes are sorted for donation. Cabinets are cleaned and organized. Many will tackle the garage if we get a few steady days of warmer weather. But for others, we sort countless boxes of old photos to scan or assemble into books. In a world of social isolation, they remind us that we have been together and will be together again. They inspire us with past travel and spur us to believe we will travel again. They bring us together with people from whom we are separated. They bring perspective.


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