Seeing better

You can improve your memory and see better at any age by reading Book 3 of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s “My Struggle.” The book is an immersion in Knausgaard’s childhood on an island in southern Norway. As with the other books in this series, he brings deep memories to the surface by re-experiencing their landscapes, weather, flora and fauna. This is a window into boyhood that I will never want to close, and for the first time in decades, I went back with eyes wide open to my own girlhood in Del Mar, California. I saw and smelled the sandstone and eucalyptus, the sand and the surf, the foggy June mornings and the baked summer evenings after a full day at the beach. The stings of puberty and the wondering whether it would ever all make sense. I’m so thankful for this sweet revelation. Throughout the weeklong reading of this book, I heard deep in my heart the memory-probings of James Taylor’s “Copperline.” He grew up in Chapel Hill, NC, near where I live now and he can still cherish it, even though those childhood places, like many of mine, are “all spec house and plywood, tore up and tore up good.” In savoring all the tastes and sounds of his boyhood, the present doesn’t touch his memory and he’s “lifting up and rising free down on over Copperline.”

Photo by Heather LaGarde, who grew up in Chapel Hill

Photo by Heather LaGarde, who grew up in Chapel Hill

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