September … ‘mber

I’m well aware that there is a strong movement away from going to the well of our memories in favour of striving to ‘live in the moment.’

While I’m all for living in the moment, I feel that our present moments are often framed by our pasts and I love nothing more than to bring my bucket to the deep well that lives in my heart and let it pull up a fine glass of memories that were made years ago.

The end of September is always a nostalgic time and it’s interesting that it is the first month of the year that carries with it the word, ‘mber’ that so often starts conversations about the old days. ‘mber the time …?’ 

Well, the memories that are with me tonight are walking trips that Dad used to bring me (or one of the others) on. I’m talking 1970s  and he was a big, strong, fit man for whom walking meant striding out for maybe twenty miles before lunch!

The walking trips were to wild places and a couple of cameras were always part of his luggage, as well as clean white cotton hankies, a strong black umbrella and his toothbrush. He was ever so careful, even vain, about his teeth in spite of being addicted to all things sugar.

The September song that brings me back to those times is this one sung by Nana Mouskouri, who I was fortunate enough to hear in concert in Dublin around 1975.

In September 1974, Dad and I went on a walking trip to his native Co. Clare ~ the place he loved more than anywhere in the whole world. Back then, the Cliffs of Moher hadn’t been commercialised and were wilder than wild. Dad must have taken thousands of photos of the The Cliffs during his lifetime and this is one that he took during our visit that year:

The Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare ~ Photo by Frank Tubridy

It was on those expeditions that I got to know about my father’s youth and heard lots of stories about how it was to grow up in the West of Ireland in the 1920s and 30s. I’m so glad now that we had those shared times as they give me a sense of my background too. They also make me smile as I think of his urgings to ‘step on it’ if he caught sight of  a black cloud heading our way! For me, ‘stepping on it’ meant jogging along beside him as his stride lengthened and lengthened …

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

26 thoughts on “September … ‘mber”

  1. Lovely memories, Jean.
    I don’t think living in the moment means letting memory slide into the mist… it is those things that have shaped us and brought us to ‘now’ after all. It is more about not being owned by the past, or ruled by the fears of some nebulous future, but being able able to accept it all as part of who we are.

    1. I like your interpretation, Sue, but I keep seeing stuff about ‘forget the past’ and ‘let the future take care of itself,’ and ALL the emphasis is one the present like Ryder Cup golfers need to be in the zone while competing.
      Great to see Europe making that mini comeback just now!

  2. You’e fortunate to have those golden memories Jean, and also the fabulous photos to reinforce them. Yes I was also lucky enough to have visited the Cliffs before it became a ‘destination’.

  3. I come from a long line of Irish(Kinsale)-American walkers. And since my dad was a photographer, many of your memories are also mine…in our case, long long walks on the prairie, photographing the first wild flowers, the first riverlets made by the thaw, the stories of his grandfather, and father, who died early. These remembrances are what bind us. And you are definiely right. In the modern world of over-computerization, and living in the moment so someone can sell us something, the passing on of memories is all we have that makes us human. And guard against inhumanism. I really really loved yourthoughts on this. And your memories. Don’t ever give up passing them on.

    1. Thanks so much for writing. It certainly seems like we have a lot in common.
      Must say, I hadn’t thought of ‘living in the moment’ and having stuff sold to us as being connected but I’m seeing it more and more since I read your comment.

      1. thank you. I sometimes think I sound a little nuts on the subject, but I have a feeling that all the really important things in our society are slipping away from us, and we have to keep in mind what they are. thanks for writing.

  4. Wonderful post. Will M’ber it for a while.

    Living in the moment for me solely means not being haunted by the past, or petrified by the future.

    Good memories are the sturdy shoes needed to trudge along the mottled hillside of life. (I actually like this thought a lot, may post a blog around it).


  5. I had to smile, Jean, at your description of your father’s stride. My dad is 6’6″ and has really long legs. His normal stride required about 3 steps for everyone else, so I could just picture you trying to keep up with your father.

    I always enjoy seeing the photos your father took, and the stories that go with them. And, in my opinion, those who say the past is “over” do not get that the past is never gone, and not something to be “gotten over” but learned from, and used to become more effective human beings–especially during those times it might not have been a cherished memory. And if we are creative and visionary, some of the hard times can become cherished memories because of how it shapes part of who we become and/or choose to become.

    1. Suz, I can see that you’d be smiling with a 6’6″ dad. The jogging along has continued for me with Big Bro 6’1″ and son 6’2″.

      I’m glad we’re on the same page about the past!

  6. Beautiful memories and sentiments Jean. Well as we have seen before your father was a very talented man, he taught you well. I also love the September song. September and Autumn and walks in the park with my father too. Here is my September song


  7. I think we need to ‘mber the past, just not live in it.
    How blessed you are to have so many pleasant and
    memorable images, Jean—both in your mind’s eye
    and heart, as well as on paper! 🙂 💜 Jackie@KWH

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