I’m not a big proponent of living in the past, but sometimes it pays to return to earlier times. It’s helpful to remind ourselves just how far we’ve come. And it’s helpful to remember that just as life has enriched us in the past, it’s bound to do so again. News clippings, photos, video and audio recordings, and other memorabilia can serve as useful cues to past highlights. But, often, they don’t measure up to revisiting a special place with the person who shared a special memory with you.
Debbie and I escaped to memory lane this past week. After an out-of-season visit to Rhododendron State Park, where the copious and massive bushes promise a blooming eyeful this July, we ventured into Vermont and upstate New York. When we left Metrowest behind and headed toward more rural places, the pace slowed significantly, fulfilling our desire for a brief getaway and setting the stage for a second helping of an unforgettable time.
Our travels took us to a long descent into the small town of Ticonderoga, New York, on state route 74. We’re somewhat familiar with the hill and the town. In fact, we were in search of them. Four years ago, on our cross-country cycling honeymoon, we first met this hill. We talk about it in our memoir Two Are Better: Midlife Newlyweds Bicycle Coast to Coast. “With the combination of a heavy load, a steep hill, and utter blindness, we were riding on the edge, on the verge of an impending disaster!” In hindsight, we clearly survived the dark descent and lived to tell about it. However, we’ve been wondering ever since just what the hill and its surroundings look like in daylight.
We weren’t disappointed. The hill measured three miles over its long, steady descent. Despite April’s barren trees, the view across Lake Champlain into Vermont from the top of the hill was magnificent, well worth the return trip. As we looked at the familiar surroundings in town, the blessing of our 2010 adventure was forefront. Somehow, returning to one of the many places we enjoyed on that trip accentuated the memories of a lifetime in a way that the images we captured or the book we wrote could not.
When was the last time you took some time out to reflect on the blessings of your past–not through photos or journals, but–by returning to a place of special memories? We had a hunger inside to visit this place since we’d left it. If you want to revisit your own memories, don’t dismiss the feeling. Rather, when you can muster the opportunity to go visit your past, seize it! Revisiting memories may just bring a new perspective to your present, and an exciting anticipation to your future.