BY: Lauren Gallow
There was a moment, when we came down out of the Japanese garden – that world away, where everything was perfectly manicured and shaped – and we arrived on asphalt. That other perfect world, where smoothness and uniformity reign, not a pebble encroaching on the tar black surface.
There was a moment, when I saw the contrast between this asphalt of black and the Technicolor green of its ivy edges, that I was launched down deep into my heart. Into the depths of memory – a trip I took with girlfriends several years ago. A trip that started with a ferry ride to Bainbridge, just as I had arrived here on the island today.
I didn’t want to go on that trip, many years ago. I felt inconvenienced by it, burdened by the notion of coordinating travel to La Push with four other girls and two cars. But it was my friend’s birthday, so I went. Begrudgingly.
In that moment, where the blacktop met the wild ivy green, I felt the tug on my heart. That feeling where I am so fully present and in a place that I am able to connect to a lineage of feelings, a chain of memories that has marked my heart in some way.
They say that when your mind thinks something, recounts a memory or a trauma or an experience, the body can’t tell the difference. The body experiences the effects of that thought or memory as if the thing you’re thinking were happening in the present.
In that moment, where the Technicolor green met the asphalt black, I was here, but I was also there. I was on that trip with girls – some I knew well and some less so – where a birthday was celebrated, news of a grandmother’s passing was mourned, and grief over a missing mother was shared. We felt all of these things, together, in a fairy landscape where moss dripped down from trees like lace and Hemlocks were so big they felt like skyscrapers. A rainforest city where we posed for Polaroid photographs that took a full 90 seconds to develop as we waited, patiently, counting.
Lauren Gallow is a Seattle-based writer and editor.
Photo courtesy Corey Kingston.