Are you intrigued by the way our minds work? That they work at all truly amazes me. But primarily, I’m fascinated by what is sometimes called a ‘train of thought’. Although, I have to admit mine is less a ‘train’ and more a crazy bumper-car ride in the mad side-show-alley of my inner life.
Perhaps it’s part of the ageing process, or maybe the fact that I have fewer distractions at this stage of my life, that determines why I can observe more closely what is actually going on in my mind. How one thought leads to another and bumps from one subject to the seemingly unrelated or improbable next, is mystifying.
Whatever the weird machinations, there is someone living in my head and when I sleep, she moves the furniture around.
So it was, I began to think about this week’s post, initially with a subject in mind when I went to sleep last evening, only to have it sidetracked by another when I awoke.
And it all began with daisies.
The Marguerite daisy or Argyranthemum Frutescens to be precise. These cheery little plants are at their bloomin’ best at the moment and I couldn’t go past the white pots on sale at the nursery. With last week’s photos of the four generations of family gardeners uppermost in mind, I was going to tell you about their favourite flowers and how they have influenced my preferences. Mum loved orchids, Nana’s favourite was the fragrant Daphne, and dear Grandma adored white daisies. Are you on-track with my train of thought here?
I was going to explore how memories reside in certain plants for me, evoking strong emotions and thus influencing my preferences for them. The fact that I am a gardener at all is due to these beloved women sharing their green thumbs with me from my early childhood.
I can close my eyes right at this moment and conjure the perfume of Daphne which then explodes into a myriad of childhood ‘Nana’ memories. I picture Nan picking the flowers and placing them beside my bed in a little crystal vase I still treasure because of this. Our olfactory sense is particularly evocative when it comes to triggering memories because of a direct line it has to the two parts of the brain processing emotion and memory – the amygdala and hippocampus.
A deep inhale of the daisies I’d bought switched thought-tracks and struck up a song in my mind. Can you believe the woman who lives in my head had brought in a piano? Nan was playing ‘Daisy daisy, give me your answer do …’ In my mind’s eye I listened entranced as Mum and Dad sang along in duet.
But wait! In the bumper-car manner of my thinking, the idea to write about plant-imbued memories seems to have been high-jacked and I’ve focused on the thought processes of memory association instead.
Or have I?
Notice to the tenant up there in my head: leave the @#*! furniture where it is or move out!