Working Memory: Swing ropes, bad.


I was eleven when it happened. I do remember that. The last day I rode a tree swing.

Trees lined the property up the hill near our house. A thick, braided rope swing was fastened to the highest limb of the highest tree. The swing rope was a popular activity then—especially in the age of thirteen-channel television and bike-riding down to the convenience store. The rope swing was our cheap and easy neighborhood attraction.

One hot afternoon, a friend and were taking turns on the swing. Athletic and invincible, we created games of skill for the 30-foot high swing. It didn’t take long before our daring tricks ended in tragedy.

On my last swing out, my vision (and decision) wavered, my grasp loosened, and the slick rope flew away.

Startled and resigned, I fell for hours. I saw the sun set. I saw my friend talk. I saw my folly wink.

I felt the deafening, wooden crash as I met the root of the tree.

My short-term episodic memory systems felt it too.


© 2011 Steph Abbott. All rights reserved.


Tonight’s post was inspired by the word “memory” and the National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) writing prompt, “Do you have a good memory for some things and not others?” The ultimate answer is yes. The post is why. I created the image last year on my iPad using Sketchbook Pro and TypeDrawing. The tree and the overall scene is not to scale, or for that matter, appelation. Consider it artistic license.

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