Buried Things

I was telling a friend about an ancient city found buried under a large aban­doned indoor mar­ket in Barcelona, which we vis­ited last sum­mer. That led us to ques­tion­ing how civ­i­liza­tions get buried, so I did my own “dig­ging,” and learned that some are buried through dis­as­ters like vol­ca­noes or tidal waves, but mostly it’s the quite nat­ural work of wind and dust and the accu­mu­la­tion of decay­ing plant and ani­mal mate­r­ial over centuries.

I real­ized we all have our own buried things—memories, dreams, talents—which might get cov­ered over by trauma, but for the most part are just obscured with the pass­ing of time and the accu­mu­la­tion of days and expe­ri­ences. Some old mem­o­ries might help give us a sense of iden­tity, of fam­ily, or of mean­ing. They might get us back in touch with dreams long buried that still have power, or remind us that once we thought we were good at some­thing and maybe it’s not too late to build on that talent.

For me, writ­ing a mem­oir meant going after many buried things from my past. It was a process that took time; it couldn’t be hur­ried. But at the end of the process, I felt more whole, more con­tent with my life.

I invite you to con­sider a lit­tle per­sonal archae­ol­ogy of your own. Pay atten­tion to glimpses of mem­ory. Watch for signs of old long­ings. Do they point to some­thing that is miss­ing from your life and might still enrich it?

Pos­si­ble out­comes: pos­si­bly tak­ing a bold new step, maybe telling some­one from your past how much they mean to you, or per­haps you will just feel grate­ful for being alive and for get­ting to where you are today.  

Worth the dig­ging, yes?

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