I recently realized that I have lived more than 25,000 days and nights, yet I can not recall a single one. Not even the one freshest in memory, yesterday. Well, I do remember a lot of it—when I got up, what I ate for breakfast, what I did after breakfast, who I saw on the street, who I talked to on the phone, who I emailed and what was exchanged. But large chunks of yesterday have already fallen through the memory cracks. The day before yesterday? Largely a blank.
This is disquieting. To have lived so long with so little memory of all those wonderful days, all those convivial evenings, all those sessions of tender and lustful lovemaking—just glimpses of them here and there, like a landscape suddenly illuminated by lightning.
As we near the end of this miraculous experience called life, on this magical place called Earth, we exclaim to ourselves, with a kind of dismay, “Damn! To have lived so long and remember so little of it–what do all those blank days amount to?”
The only comfort we can gather from the great silence is to remember that our best poets have asked the same question. La Vida Es Sueno, said Pedro Calderon de la Barca, Life Is A Dream. Or Shakespeare, in Macbeth: “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Or from The Tempest: “We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”