In my mind, every place I’ve come to know has left two distinct footprints in my memory. They are as different as if they were two entirely different places, bearing little resemblance in spite of the fact they are actually one and the same. It’s as if the place is two different places at once in my mind.
The first memory is the way the place looked to me the very first time I saw it. The imprint is immediate and overwhelming to the senses. I remember waking up in Volgograd. A place I had often imagined, suddenly one morning, was real as can be and completely unexpected. I remember leaving Volgograd, having spent months exploring and discovering and becoming intimate with the city. If you were to place side by side the first impression with the lasting image I constructed over the time I spent there, they just aren’t the same place. It happened in every city of my mission. It happened in Logan. I remember the first time I ever walked into the hub at the TSC everything was closing down, I was with my cousin Scott who had taken me to see the campus. Now it appears to me so different.
The first image is always infused with uncertainty, possibility, dreams and expectations. Uncertainty awkwardly becomes known, possibilities are realized or abandoned, dreams go through the painful “Valveteen Rabbit” process of transformation into reality, expectations are disappointed or surpassed. What you walk away with is very close to the truth.
It’s funny how the same thing happens with people.
Recently, my American History Professor planted a revolutionary idea in my mind, she said that History, actually, does not repeat itself.
“YEAH!” I wanted to agree “That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking lately!” As I’ve been taking two modern history classes this semester it has occurred to me that more than being a cyclical pattern History is the story of an unfolding, which we are a part of, which we are experiencing. There are reoccurring themes, but, more than anything something is growing or dying or transforming or changing.
Not too long after that exchange I caught myself projecting myself into the future, fantasizing about the spring and I imagined myself there and I caught a glimpse of something unexpected. And for about 2 weeks I was fixated on this idea that we get so used to the status quo. We get so used to the swing of things, we start expecting for things to always be the way they’ve always been.
Then someone comes around and tells us “history repeats itself” so are predictable expectations are reinforced and instead of exploring and discovering and getting to know what’s out there. We just take them for face value and assume they are exactly what we perceive them to be at first sight.
I knew those two ideas would somehow connect in a significant way.