Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Random Thoughts (Silent Echoes)

Location: New Rockdale RV Park; Mansfield, Louisiana

Today is day 45 since Brandon had his second stroke. He is still going to Physical/Occupational Therapy two hours per day, three days a week. It really is brain therapy as the brain needs to be rewired due to the damage caused by the stroke. After therapy on Monday, the 23rd, Brandon said something "clicked". He couldn't explain it when I asked about it. He just said things were "different". I took that as a good thing. The good thing happened a few days later on the 30th, Memorial Day. Brandon wanted to try driving his truck around the neighborhood. He did it with ease, so he drove into town while his mother and I stayed behind and worried. His improvement continues daily and his positive attitude remains high. 

Random Thought:
I've been thinking a lot lately about "silent echoes" and "shared memories". What are silent echoes, you say? They are our individual memories, the echoes in our minds. As we experience things in this world, we create memories. We store them away in our minds for recollection in the future. When we recall them, it is like echoes in our mind. 

One form of memory is when we learned the 3-R's in school and were expected to remember them on a test. The surprising thing is that everything we have learned over our entire lifetime is stored up there just waiting for us to retrieve it. Sometimes it is easy and sometimes it's as if we "don't know _ _ _ _ from shinola". (You younger ones out there may have to ask a seasoned citizen for the missing word.)

Silent Echoes are more than just memories. They are what makes us who we are. That is why Alzheimer's is such a devastating disease. It takes away those silent echoes and without them, we are a stranger to ourselves and others. It is just plumb sad. I remember my father suffering from it. His memory loss would come and go as if it was an evil trick being played on him. My mother passed away after 51 years of marriage to my father. There were times after her death when he would ask, "Where's Sue?" as if he thought she was outside or in the other room. We would have to tell him she passed away. He would look at us with a quizzical look on his face and scrunch his eyebrows down a little as he searched through his "silent echoes". Suddenly, the memory would be retrieved and he would go through the heartache and pain of losing her all over again. There isn't many things I can think of that is worse than having to relive a tragedy like that time and time again. I know the day is coming, if I live long enough, that I will go through that same passage of life. I hope life is kinder and allows me to keep some of my silent echoes.

As I said, "silent echoes" are individual memories. I've created a lot of those since my divorce and even more so since I started traveling around the country solo. The trouble with silent echoes is you can't share them with anyone. Oh, you can tell stories about what you've seen or done, but it is never the same. It's true in that, "I guess you just needed to be there." There are some silent echoes that will die when I die. They will never have been spoken or written about and will simply fade away. They will go where memories go that are no longer remembered by anyone. 

The sights, sounds and scent of canyons reaching to the horizon or the waves of the Pacific crashing against the rocky shores, or the snow covered trees along a mountain pass or the dozens of sunrises/sunsets over deserts, mountains, lakes and oceans or a cool breeze blowing through the valleys of the Smokies, or the bright and brilliant blue color of Crater Lake and Lake Huron or the peaceful drives along empty highways with the smell of freedom hanging heavy in the air, or the somber and humbling walk among the Stone Gardens of Arlington. These are just some of the silent echoes created by me over the last couple of years. They live inside of me, with the other echoes from my life.   

There is also something called a "shared memory". That's when someone else is there to experience the same thing you are experiencing. Ain't those good? Those are the ones where you can look at somebody and say, "remember when ,,,,,,", and then you both get the same feeling of being back at that time. A good example of a shared memory is child birth. When the mother and father first see a new life come into this world, together. I have had the privilege of sharing that memory with the mother of my children, twice. Many times, shared memories are taken for granted. It is like most things. We think they will last forever, but sometimes they don't. When the person you shared a memory with passes away, then your shared memory has turned into a silent echo. Losing those shared memories is sad.

I will end with one of my Silent Echoes that came to mind as I was making this post. 
Freedom towing Liberty across the Continental Divide at Wolf Creek Pass. Very, very little traffic, temperature in the low 30's after a snowfall the previous day. The air was crisp and clean. It was something to behold. Now it is just a silent echo ringing in my mind, but it sure can cause me to relive that peaceful feeling on that day.  
I've rambled enough. And to answer a question in some of ya'lls mind, "No, I'm not on drugs." Well, caffeine is a drug, but that don't count. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.    



  1. Hello Darrell
    Just a thought on your, choice of sayings. We were in the Mammoth visitors center today in Yellowstone national park. In a display on soldiers in Yellowstone there was a can of Shinola, I had to call the wife over and point out that it really did exist. We shared a good chuckle together.
    I hope the best for your son, and safe travels for you.

    1. Hello Steven,
      Ya'll now have a "shared memory". :)
      Be safe.

  2. A very good message today about a silent echo...we all have them.

  3. Thank you for this very moving and thought provoking post, Darrell. Good news first about Brandon's brain "click" - I agree that does sound positive.

    As solo travelers, we both know about silent echoes and shared memories and how important and satisfying both can be, however different.

    I'm still thankful for that sweet smell of freedom that permeates our travel memories, though! :)

    1. You're welcome Malia,
      I've been enjoying your experiences in Sedona. I didn't stay there long enough to truly appreciate it. Don't forget to try out the Buddist Stupa there. Take care, have fun.

  4. Beautiful post. Thought provoking. Happy to hear your son continues to improve.

    1. Thanks Barbara,,,, ya'll be safe out there

  5. Hi, Darrell. I first read your blog simply because we share the same, and rather unusual, last name. God only knows how far back in our DNA the connection was made, but I guess it's not all that important, really. We are all brothers to some extent. I was compelled to comment today as I just read your musings about "Silent Echoes." Very poignent and insightful. My mother has been diagnosed with dementia. What a cruel trick to be played on those who have been such a solid rock throughout their lives. Happy Trails and Safe Travels.

    1. Hello Larry (cousin?),
      I'm sorry to hear about your mother. I hope her dementia is merciful. Take care, cya.