I really enjoy forgetting. When I first come to a place, I notice all the little details. I notice the way the sky looks. The color of white paper. The way people walk. Doorknobs. Everything. Then I get used to the place and I don’t notice those things anymore. So only by forgetting can I see the place again as it really is.
David Byrne, from his film True Stories
Anamnesis is the opposite of amnesia. It’s not the same as remembering, though. Remembering is how you find your car keys. Anamnesis is how you feel when you hear a song you loved for the first time in 20 years. You not only hear the song but it also spins out a medley of associated memories–maybe from the summer you fell in love or a soundtrack from a long-forgotten road trip. You have no idea of the words and can’t remember how it ends, but you remember it enough to know you always loved this song.
One of the happiest side-effects of recovering from my amnesia was a year of anamnesis. Everything was excitingly new and oddly familiar. Once, I woke up to a snowy morning and felt it was something I had only read about before. It was wondrous. That entire year, the most mundane experiences and special celebrations felt equally special.
I still try to see the wonder of everyday things and Shimmer makes this easier because he is still meeting the world. As a racing dog, his entire life consisted of his pen and a track and, then, Joan and I came along. We introduced him to his first stairs, kids and squirrels, other people’s dogs and other people’s yards (sorry!), dog treats and dog toys, people food and food on the sidewalk…an entire new world he explores with the same excitement as an amnesiac dancing in a snow storm.
We walk together, watching the world with eyes wide open.