Memory will take you there

Published 11:13 pm Friday, May 13, 2016

If I were a cussin’ gal, I would be a-cussin’ all the time.

And, if I had the power of a storyteller like Kathryn Tucker Windham, I could convince all of these people — young and old — to put down those darn electronic devices and start experiencing life.

While they are so intent on capturing Johnny junior’s swing at bat or little Suzie’s mini-moment on stage, they are missing the experience — the wonder –of being there in that moment in time.

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You can’t capture the sounds, the smells, the excitement, the wonder of an event on a “device.” You have to absorb it. You have to feel it, experience it and store it forever in that little gray matter between your ears. Then, a year from now, scores of years from now, you can experience it all over again. The wonder of it all again.

Just the other day, several folks were talking about their vacations to the Grand Teton Mountains in Jackson Hole, Wyoming which is my favorite place on earth, except home.

I’ve often said, if heaven ain’t a lot like the Tetons, I don’t wanna go.

The mere mention of those grand mountains was all it took for me to be back there again. I didn’t have to scurry through a box of photographs to get there. I didn’t have to pop in a photo disc or scroll through an electronic device. All I had to do was close my eyes and I was there – memory took me right back to that place in time.

I was only 18 years old, when I first laid eyes on the Tetons.

As a young Southern gal whose world had barely reached beyond the fringes of Alabama, I kept my face pressed to the window of the train that was taking me back to the place of my birth. Working at Yellowstone National Park had been a dream of mine for as long as I had known how to dream and I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the place.

Only a few weeks into my adventure, several of us drove down to Jackson Hole for the weekend. We arrived way into the dark night and threw down sleeping bags close to the river. The night was so black that I could hardly see the whitecaps on the raging Snake River.

Nights are very cold in Jackson Hole in early June so I zipped my head in the sleeping bag in an effort to stay warm. When Mother Nature started to stir, I unzipped the bag and peeped out.

There, in the early morning mist, was the most incredible sight I had ever seen — the Teton Mountains standing like “giant breasts” above the Snake River. It was unimaginable – the beauty of God’s handiwork.

Forgetting about the cold, I shed the sleeping bag and sat there crying. God had given me mountains to rest my eyes upon that early frosty morn and all I could do was cry.

In my mind’s eye, I can again wake to see the early morning sun bathe the mountains towering above me. I can feel the stir of the Columbines and Indian Paintbrushes that bring summer color to the peaks and bask in the quiet beauty that cloaks those mountains when the sun falls from the sky. I can feel the softness of the moonbeams that light the snowcaps and stand in awe of the way the Tetons stand like sentinels in the dark of night.

I often go there, to those majestic mountains, again … and to other places and other times … because I can. Memory takes me there.