In this post, I will be taking a trip to some places and situations/activities in my past that I enjoyed, trying to recall what it was like in those moments. It is a part of the mental practices pictured in the book “Tunne Lukkosi” by Kimmo Takanen.
In my childhood, we used to go fishing a lot, me and my father. It is one of the most serene memories I have from those times, one that I always meet with joy and fondness. The memory I am about to describe to the best of my ability is from one such trip to the lake near my cousin’s house.
It was an extremely hot summer day, the air was still and the water underneath the boat had not a single ripple, if not for the boat moving. The mosquitoes of the swamp had been left behind, and only the occasional gnat tried to harass us. It was just me and my father on the rowboat. He kept reminding me to drink from one of the two bottles of soda we brought with us, I think they were Sprite.
The waters under us were murky and the stems of the waterlilies vanished into the deeps as we parked ourselves near them. The massive rounded leaves and the reeds were perfect for the fish to hide, and we often found ourselves near such places.
I cast my line, I had attached my first very own lure to the end of it. It had a thin metal mustache on it to keep it from getting entangled too much to the vegetation, yet I still managed to get it stuck. I tried to tug on it a few times, but the lure was well versed in the art of hanging in there, and so, I had to ask my father to help me.
We rowed towards the point where my lure had got stuck in, and the line vanished into the depths with the waterlilies. He took the rod, the one he had given to me as a gift. It was his old, faithful fishcatcher, and he had gotten himself a new, bigger one. Either way, he took it and started maneuvering around with skill and precision, slowly loosening the lure and reeling back the line.
When he finally thought he had reeled the line in enough, and should already see the lure so he can break it free, we saw the true culprit – I had managed to land on a huge, very lazy pike! It sluggishly emerged from the murky waters, and finally got fed up with us tugging on its mouthparts. I think I got to eat him later that day.
The Hide in the Bush (with tripwires)
As a child, I used to love playing outdoors. We lived in an area with a ton of other kids and while I did not have the tendency to run around with groups of friends, I made my way into the bushes with one friend at a time. Lucky for me, we also lived in a place with tons of nature all around.
One of such bounties of nature was a certain thick willow growth. It was at least a block wide, between a small road a little river. The amazing part about these bushes was that the wooden branches were just tall enough to warrant a few rowdy kids having adventures in the labyrinth, but not enough to let in adults. And so, I came up with a master plan and recruited one of the kids in the area to help me.
I drew schematics and plans. After those were ready, we raided the trash and what we could find in nature and in our homes inconspicuously and went to work whenever we were allowed to go out. It was glorious.
There was this perfect little cavern, an opening of sorts, deep in the willows. We bent down some branches to make ourselves hammock-style chairs that neared beds in the end. We tied the ends of the branches to the more sturdy parts of the bushes. We made an arch, like a hallway to our hide, and laced the front and back entrances with tripwires. I have no idea where we found copper wire, but it worked, as we soon found out.
While enjoying the excitement of our very own bush castle, we heard a terrible scream. It was one of my friend’s brothers, and it must’ve come from quite close to where we were. I launched myself into the bushes, my friend trying to follow me and promptly tripping over the sneaky copper lines in the roots. I paid no mind to her and kept galloping through the willows, arriving at the scene of the tragedy.
My friend’s brothers had got a genius idea. There was an open bottle of lighter fluid, and a very startled child holding a lighter. His eyebrows had been burned off. I will always remember the amazing bond and intuition I had about the nature surrounding my childhood home, the invisible paths I took, and the roots and vegetation that never once made me falter.
This memory shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering I’m a writer. All writers start their passion from somewhere, and I feel like it is only a fraction that doesn’t find their way to the words via other people’s writings. I was a terrible bookworm back in the day, hauling home 6-7 books at a time from the library.
This particular memory is related to a very special book though. It was the first Harry Potter I got, and unlike normal people, I didn’t get the Philosopher’s Stone. Oh no, I got the Prisoner of Azkaban!
I was doing my usual night routine, with my bedside lamp shining its light on my pillow. I had my blanket over my shoulders, it had a lovely scent as always since my mother switched the sheets regularly, and I was on my belly, ready to meet my first ever Dementor. I flipped through the pages, in the now so familiar trance, and when I finished, I had actually read to the end of the book. Mind you, none of the Potter books is by any means a mere pamphlet. That night, I dreamt of my soul being sucked out. It was absolutely astonishing!
The Imaginary Sanctuary
The time has come to let you, my dear readers, in on a secret of mine. I have an incredible ability that I’ve neglected for far too long, and that I got acquainted with when I was very young and full of optimistic thoughts. When I combine my photographic memory with my extremely vibrant imagination, I can make places, animals, even worlds come to life in my mind’s eye, real or my own creation, much like watching a movie. This incredible skill I have used to cope through my Borderline affliction, as well as just general hardship.
The memory I want to tell you is a childhood memory indeed, and I’ve not had anything happen on quite that level since. It is the memory of when I transformed my room into a jungle!
I sat there, in the middle of the room. Our floors were covered in that weirdly soft plastic thing, easy to clean and such. I think it had some grey pattern to it. I had my back towards the door of the room, and the door was closed. I don’t know why I decided to just sit there in silence, I must’ve been a peculiar kid. Either way, there I sat. With my legs crossed, my wrists resting on my knees, a proper lotus if I say so myself. And I imagined.
The grass slowly grew from the floor to cover it and with it some of the taller ferns and other plants. The gentle breeze around me did not touch me but instead made the green leaves around me sway. The trees, oh how massive they were, vines wrapping around their trunks, started appearing all around me, eventually, they made the roof disappear above me. It was serene.
Somewhere I heard birds singing their songs, the jungle was coming to life in my senses. The moisture of the air making it heavier, the sound of the leaves being caressed in the wind. The subtle footsteps of an animal, coming closer… and closer… BAM! My mother opened the door and my creation vanished. She was getting me to join her for dinner.
I’ve never had such an experience after that, but I doubt it has anything to do with me being unable to do it so much as it has evolved and my attention span got shorter. This skill is a marvel, and while it is terrifying seeing ghouls and corpses in the shadowy corners of my house when I go into my fear states, and no matter the years it took me to be able to not see demons in the dark mirrors and windows, I would not trade it for the world! Now that you’ve reminded me, I think I need to pick up on my picturing again, would be a shame to waste such a skill!
Feel free to share a lovely childhood memory with us in the comments!
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