So, this is weird in a woo-woo sort of way. Yesterday, I was picking lavender from my out-of-control lavendar plant out front and everything about it gave me the weirdest sense of… let’s call it pseudo deja vu.
Because, you see, I have never picked lavender before. I have never, to my knowledge, been much closer to fresh lavender than to have smelled it in soap. And yet, I’m sitting there cutting blossoms and feeling like… and here’s where the “pseudo” part of the “pseudo deja vu” comes in… feeling like ‘Done before’ and something like ‘Remember This from Grandma’s House’ or ‘This again from Grandma’s Garden.’
I felt like I was having an old memory, if that makes sense. But an old memory older than me. Not my memory. My grandmas didn’t have lavender at their houses and my grandma A. didn’t even have a garden.
And I guess you could explain it as being, maybe, just a crossed wire in the whole collective unconscious, that my experience of cutting lavender and smelling it was so strong it evoked in me the first memory plucked out of everywhere.
But I can’t help but wonder where memory is kept. I mean, we think of memory as being a function solely of the mind and of the mind being located solely in the brain, which resides in our heads. But some researchers and theorists suggest that the mind is more located in the nervous system in general and the reason so many memory problems have to do with things going on in the brain is just because so many nerves are bundled in your brain.
That’s a little off-track, but my point is that the mind is probably not just in your brain but located throughout your body. Do you have a mind even down to a genetic level? And, if so, if mind and memory and such aren’t just sitting, precariously balanced on top of this animal we call a body, but are somehow intimately wrapped in with it, do you suppose you can sometimes inherit memories like you inheret eye color?
And, since they’re not your memories, maybe you don’t often, if ever, access them. They just sit there seldom used, except maybe to influence a love of baking bread or to drive you to buy a bowl just like the one your grandma had, unless something, like the smell of lavender, is strong enough to release them and you “remember” a memory one of your ancestors had.
I think I told you this story, but I want to tell you it again. My mom’s grandmother, Teckla, was the daughter of immigrants. Hulda, Teckla’s mother, came over from Sweden when everyone’s mothers were coming to America from Sweden. When Teckla was small, they went back to visit. The first thing that Teckla said to Anna, Hulda’s mother, upon seeing her was “Your eyes are blue. Just like mine.”
When I was a little girl, also carrying the name Teckla, Teckla still lived, out in California, and she sent money so that we could come out to visit her. The first thing I said to Teckla, upon meeting her? The thing that freaked her right the fuck out?
“Your eyes are blue. Just like mine.”