XLVIII

nostalgia; noun, [no-stal-juh, -jee-uh, nuh-]

  1. a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time.

Yesterday being the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and all—Lilian and I spent a good portion of the night drowning ourselves in nostalgia. We came across some Magritte paintings online and suddenly thought of an American artist that we couldn’t name—it was on the tip of our minds—and then I found myself browsing an article about childhood books, and there he was, Chris Van Allsburg, writer/illustrator of The Polar Express, Jumanji, The Stranger. We nearly reeled over. (Nostalgia works in peculiar ways; it recalls not only the finer details of the past, but also those grand, crashing waves of memory that are unleashed with a mere tap of recognition).

I find myself feeling ghostly these days. Like I haven’t lived a life, or I’ve been absent from something important. It’s a relief, then, to be whacked with a good dose of the old memory lane. There’s so much buried beneath the present. History, everything. There’s so much we forget.