Time and Memory #1

The author as a small boy gazes at a large fish in an aquarium

Having a stroke was the most surprising thing that has happened to me in a long, long while.

Of course the word stroke is connected with the word strike and was originally “The stroke of God’s Hand” and a stroke is naturally surprising, but I meant something more. I felt what happened reinvented me in some way.

For example following the stroke I felt time was more drawn out, in a way that I haven’t experienced since I was very little.

It’s very hard to put into words but I’ll try. I think it’s to do with having altered vision and also to do with having to learn a lot of new things, and not just new things, but new kinds of things.

I suppose when I was small each small experience was a big one and every day a long one. And so the feeling of time passing was enormously slow and extended.

Older we lose that wonderment, so more of the same but different doesn’t have the same effect on time. For example, a new book to read is not enough. Like Browning’s thrush it feels we

“… never can recapture that first fine careless rapture”

of being able to read for the first time.

But when I had a stroke that feeling of wonderment was engaged again. It has worn off a little (I shall fight this wearing off!) but still affects my approach to daily life in an important way.

Perhaps it’s a shocking thing to say, but I wouldn’t want go back now, even if I could.


About partialinsight

One evening I had a stroke. Half my sight vanished overnight. Adapting made me grasp how amazing the visual system and brain are. It also taught me to understand disability completely differently and I'm grateful for the lesson.
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