I Have a Mind Like a Sieve

When I was going through my notebooks, I found this.

My mind is like a quiet wood today. A gentle zephyr whispers through the trees. Each leaf chafes against its brother, filling the air with a soft rustle. Under the traveler’s foot crunch the dead leaves, once coursing with the life-sap of the stately trees. Each leaf was once a thought, perhaps, or a dream or a goal or a word spoken in haste. Down they have fallen; the trees cannot reclaim them. The traveler finds a particularly fine oak and taps upon its bark.

“What did the Morrill Act of 1862 accomplish?” he asks.

The oak does not answer him. Neither do the firs or the pines that stand beside it. Yes, my mind is quiet today. It hasn’t found one answer for the test on the desk in front of me.

The sad thing is, I still don’t know what the Morrill Act is. That really bothers me. When you’re in school, you’re just like, “Okay, I need to know this for the test, and then I won’t think about it while I memorize this other thing that I need to know for a test in another class.” (At least, that’s how I was.) By the time I was a senior, I realized that I don’t remember anything from History 101. I don’t remember anything from freshman year. I don’t even remember what classes I took when I was a freshman. Now that I’m graduated, I’m wishing I had worked harder on actually learning stuff, not just memorizing it for a test.

I’ve always been kind of proud of my memory. But I have a weird kind of photographic memory where I need to be triggered. I’ll read a book or something and not think about it for a while, but if you ask me about something that was in it, I’ll be like, “Oh, yeah, that thing that happened. It caused this and this and this. I hated it, but it had to happen.” On the other hand, I have a mind like a sieve, honestly. I take everything at face value. This was a real problem in my higher-level English classes. My English teacher kind of ruined Stephen Crane’s “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky” for me when he explained all the symbolism. Seriously, life would be so much better if you could just take everything and everyone at face value.

That being said, I’m a writer. I’m supposed to create subtext and exploit connotation. So I’ll be working on developing a more critical mind. Wish me luck.

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