Jan 6, 2014
There are layers to forgetting, to its doing and its effects. There are memories of which I have left only memories — these are those moments that were forgotten and rewritten twice over, and they serve as footholds in time’s face, helping me a little to scale the past’s walls. Violence’s whiplash, they are the familiar edges of scars, ridges rough and grounding under peeling fingertips, they are the lips of ravines that careen away from all attempts at mapping. There are layers of everything forgotten, sedimented into landmasses that are multicoloured with eddies of madness. They are the not forgotten, the strictly compacted, the always almost rising.
Today, I watched horses graze through snow. They shuffled through banks of knee-high white down, pelts heavy with winter shag. Today, I stood in a half-built house on the edge of Six Nations territory, watched in silence as the land billowed away from us in great roiling stillness, its every curve seeming to arch against my palms, a soft freezing.
Today, we drove on clear highways past small cities and I thought mostly of Kampala. I thought of its hills. I remembered standing alone and diminished on their peaks in cathedrals and in mosques, the city verdant here and thickly-roofed there below us. At night those hillsides were a furor of lights, as though the stars had yielded to the land’s pull. I remembered balancing groceries on my lap, wrapping calves and thighs around humming metal, and disembarking from motorcycles to aching thighs and wobbling calves. I remember the sunlight’s weight on my eyelashes.
Most of last year felt like a near simultaneous forgetting of everything as it happened. Today was the first time in months that remembering felt like something other than coming up against a pebble in my shoes, a boulder at the base of my neck, a bloodied fingerhold in a sheer cliff-face. There are other landscapes, other flora. I look now to plains and hold my breath for hills, I do away with maps and come into time.