It’s funny how certain senses can establish such strong connections with memories of past events. In my case, the most lasting and obvious example is the smell of sunscreen, which sends my imagination directly to the memory of standing on the peak of Mt. Lassen, California–a scene that is otherwise quite difficult to recall.
Although sights and scents have proved over the years to yield strong connections to past events in my life, the biggest section of my recollection is largely unlocked by music. In many situations, a particular album or artist can open up the curtains and reveal a very vivid piece of my memory.
Such is the case with my connection between the Catlins district of New Zealand and Roo Panes’ Weight Of Your World. Any song from the EP will do the trick, but Indigo Home works particularly well. Even the first notes of the track are enough for my imagination to place my feet firmly on the cool, waterlogged sand of Purakanui Bay. By the second chorus, memories flood into my head, swirling about like the receding tide I had been watching that morning.
Overhead, the sun was inescapable, making short work of drying the recently uncovered sands, and at the far end of the bay, a sheer wall of stone rose into the air, casting a thin portion of the beach in shade.
Now, sitting on the couch writing this article, I can nearly feel the salt breeze across my skin. I can recall the way the air wound through the stitching of my clothes and across my body, the way it flicked and tugged at the ringlets of my lengthening hair. I remember the sound of the birds nesting in the steep cliffs before me and I can remember the chill that accompanied the the absence of light in their shadow.
As the song nears its ending, I turn around to see the way from which I’ve come–the fading footsteps I’ve taken to reach the base of this immovable heap of stone and spire. So long as the music continues, I will be able to keep standing here, looking out at the landscape. Unfortunately, the song does not play indefinitely, and upon its end, I watch the vivid scene fade away faster than it appeared.