Thursday, 14 August 2014

Rocky Mountain High

Driving from a multi-story car park yesterday, I flicked the radio on. "Rocky Mountain High" was playing.

Now, a confession: I'd never heard the song before.

I know, but sometimes these classics just elude us for a while. (I'm still biding my time before I watch "The Godfather" trilogy).

Anyway, the song was playing, the sun was shining and my window was wound down. I had just supped a large latte from Costa Coffee and all was well with the world.

Except for one thing: I started to analyse my mood.

Why was I feeling happy?

And the answer came just as quickly-nostalgia. Even though I'd never heard the song, memories of grainy, sunny American landscapes were flooding my head and I wondered why, and perhaps even more importantly, why did this seem comforting?

I've never been to the USA. All of the information about the place, is filtered through the various media of films, TV shows, radio, internet and the actual face-to-face encounters with a few Americans I've met.

So why did I have a warm, fuzzy nostalgic moment based on a song I'd never previously heard?

The best I can come up with is that somewhere inside, a version of America is in-built into my psyche. It's an America that I control from afar, that exists intertwined with my childhood and somehow negates any danger that I've seen or heard into a controllable, compartmentalised past.

For example, I remember having family friends staying with us (on one of the few occasions that they did), on the day John Lennon was shot in New York. I was seven at the time, and the memory of hearing and watching the news, is filtered by the good memories of that visit and other times together.

The past, it seems, is one thing that we can attempt to keep under our control. We can manipulate it in our minds and it can seem to become whatever we want it to be. Others may argue that this subconscious editing is evidence that the past actually controls us.

What do you think? Do you control your past our does your past control you?

5 comments:

  1. I love John Denver's music ~ all of it! 'Take Me Home Country Roads' transports me to another place, another time. However, my past does not control me .. It makes me who I am today. Come visit us.

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  2. The past, I think, definitely has a huge impact on us (certainly it does on me - probably way too much) and many memories are far from fond. But, over the years, I have come to carve out the good bits with my poetry, and I have found a small measure of comfort and control (and occasionally, even some small respite of pleasant peace) in that process. By the way, I found your writing to be very relatable (what I read of it) and thought I'd say so. I really like relatable. Smiles.

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  3. i would like to think my past informs my present as much as my future hopes give it direction...and now i will sing that song all day...ha

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  4. I like to think my past does not control me, however...a song, a scent a photo can send me into the depths of memory...good question :)

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  5. My past affects me and my version of my own history is tainted with my own bias for sure. So both! :)

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