Memory runs along deep, fixed channels in the brain, like electricity along its conduits; only a cataclysm can make the electrons rear up in shock and slide over into another channel. The human mind seems doomed to believe, as simply as a rooster believes, that where we are now is the only possibility

That echo. It played in his head at unexpected moments, repeating certain sounds and making nonsense of them. But could you remember an echo? Memory itself was like another kind of echo, everything duplicating endlessly, in shadow versions of itself.

It seems to me that when you look back at a life – yours or another’s – what you see is a path that weaves into and out of deep shadow. So much is lost. What we use to construct the past is what has remained in the open, a hodgepodge of fleeting glimpses. Our histories, like my father’s current body, are structures built of toothpicks. So what I recall of that last summer in New Bremen is a construct of both what stands in the light and what I imagine in the dark where I cannot see.

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