I felt like the Time Traveler today.
I was driving down I-430 with the heat blasting, listening to music, still groggy from not drinking quite enough coffee, wishing I’d stopped at Starbucks for a cafe breve.
Suddenly, I stood in the shadows of gigantic pine trees, the moonlight casting shadows on me and everything else behind them. It was 39 degrees. Stars shivered through the fog of my breath every time I exhaled. In my pocket, I clung to a tiny gold star covered in glitter, turning it over and over in my fingertips.
There have been other times when memories have taken me back instantly to places I’ve been before, without warning or obvious reason. It amazes me how clearly I can refeel moments, whether they happened yesterday or 20 years ago.
Like the time I was 16 on summer vacation in Wichita, Kansas, standing in a 150 year-old barn in the middle of a field looking out of a second-story window, the wind whipping through my long straight hair. I can still smell the storm coming.
Or the moment I sat across from a 9 year-old boy in Putian, China, as he played a violin without saying a word while a government official told the story of his parents’ tragic death which led him to the orphanage where he lived. I still feel the sadness crush into my chest the same way I did that moment when silent tears streamed down both our faces as we stared into each other’s eyes.
Maybe other people refeel things just as vividly as I do. Maybe this is why so many of us write.