This is three years old, but you couldn’t tell it from my yard.
Another New Brunswick photo, from the summer of 2005. This is from a field in Kouchibouguac National Park, as a storm was coming in.
This is complicated, with layers.
Inner layer: I am lying in a stroller—an old fashioned stroller—on the back porch of the house I grew up in. I see trees in the backyard, with no leaves. They are the trees on the line between our lot and the next lot down the hill. I also see objects that are much closer, less than a foot away, moving in and out of my field of view. At some point I realize that they are moving in and out of my field of view because I am moving them. I can make this happen. They are my feet and my hands and I can move them and decide whether I want to see them or not.
Second layer: I am older, perhaps 12, and I have a sudden, vivid, wordless memory of discovering my hands and feet. I analyze the scene, and realize it must have been between November and April, as there were no leaves on the trees, and that, therefore, I must have been somewhere between seven months and a year old.
Third layer: I am in college, taking a class in Memory and Attention, and writing a paper on earliest memories. I learn that it is unusual for people to have pre-verbal memories. Of course, the memory is no longer pre-verbal, and what I am really remembering is my 12-year-old self’s remembering something much earlier, with the verbal scaffolding I then assigned to this earlier memory. It is harder, much harder, to access the physical memory of discovering my body and my potential control over it, and impossible to do so without the verbal description.
Outer layer: I am sitting in the living room of my mother’s retirement cottage, with my mother and my aunt (her younger sister). They are reminiscing about many things. At one point my mother talks about moving into the suburban house, in a post-war development outside of New York City. After I was born, my parents lived in their walk-up apartment on the East Side for a month, then with my grandparents on Long Island for another few months; finally, when I was about 4 months old, their house was finished and the moved in. Part of my mother’s routine as a SAHM (of course, they didn’t call it that, back then), was to bundle me up, and put me in the carriage on the screen porch every day for my nap, even until it was quite chilly out, as it was important for me to get fresh air. She doesn’t remember now, almost 60 years later, whether I was so bundled up that I couldn’t freely move my arms and legs. But that doesn’t matter. In my memory, I could and did.
This is one of my squares for Millarca. I went for bright colors, then realized part-way through that this was a perfect U of Michigan color scheme. Oh well.