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Remembering the Details

August 29, 2014

It is a bit unfortunate that we can only remember and take in so many details in our lives.  I haven’t done the research or literature review on this topic, but I’m willing to bet that this has less to do with our mental or cognitive abilities and more to with rushing past things and not slowing down to reflect.

As you know, after each day of hiking I write about the day.  I often include bullet points of highlights/lowlights from that day.  In most cases, our hiking “day” is really only about 4 hours long.  When I’m writing, I think I’ve captured the most memorable aspects of the day/hike.   And if I rank order all the little details, the things I include in the bullet point summary and blog post, likely are the most memorable.  But the trouble with this process is that there are so many other interesting details.  The minute I hit “publish” I think of many other things I should have included on the list.  For example, on our most recent hiking trip other things I wish I’d written about include

  • the cute hamlet called Brimestone.  Tucked on a dead end road this cluster of houses along the Credit River (I think that is which river it is) would be a beautiful location for a country home.
  • a fun moment where we chatted with a couple who were hiking for the morning about the effectiveness of the Off clip-ons at keeping away the mosquitoes.
  • the fact that it seems like there is a waterfall on almost every section of the Bruce Trail.
  • the hills, hills, and more hills.  Going up and down hills, short and long, steep and not so steep, seems to be what hiking the Bruce trail is all about
  • the many people we passed and greeted and established a momentary connection as fellow ‘hikers’

It’s almost impossible to remember everything you see in 4 hours of hiking.  But this idea applies to our entire lives. There are so many details we fail to take note of and document in our lives.  For many of us, taking pictures with our phones has helped us retain these magical moments.  But there are still so many that slip away.  I have written before about the value of slowing down and noticing what’s around us.  My most recent hiking day and all the moments I forgot to write about reminded me of this.  And I’m pretty sure frequent reminders to slow down are required for all of us.

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