So I’m running around Lake Sacajawea again the other day. The running trail dips in toward the lake to pass under the bridges so you don’t need to wait for traffic. Very nice touch. The bridges are not terribly new, and the posts supporting the structure are large posts similar to pier supports. They are treated with the same chemicals and have that dock/waterfront smell. I tried to remember what the treatment was called. I kept running, kept passing under bridges, kept waiting for that sensory memory to kick in and give me the name of the treatment. Nothing.
It was a word used to know, and now it was gone. I began wondering how many other things have fallen out. More importantly, if my brain capacity is finite (it is), what information bumped out the name of the wood treatment. Was it more important or more useful than the treatment name?
I’m driving down the road the next day. A song comes on the radio that I haven’t heard in probably 10 years. I knew every word. I couldn’t even remember what the song was until the chorus rolled around, but I remembered every word.
The brain is an amazing thing, something we will probably never fully understand. How does it work, how are things stored - what to leave in, what to leave out. Why as you age does the long-term memory improve and the short-term memory degrade? Will I ever turn to my wife and ask, “Do I like this?”
P.S. the word came to me a day and a half later - creosote. The song was “Don’t Let it End” by Styx.