Jim is thinking about stuff. His earliest memory is when he was four. He found a fish that had washed up near the summer house that his family rented each summer on the Oregon coast. At first, he thought it was a toy fish, but he poked it with a stick and it felt like a real fish. He remembered it was the color of an unripe plum, although he didn’t make this comparison at the time. He had this memory because a bee stung him on the ear at the same time he saw the fish. Now whenever he sees a light purple fish, his ear becomes more sensitive, or at least he believes it to.
Now he is a grown man and he doesn’t think of the fish or the bee sting too often. Now he spends his days working as a middle-level executive at an insurance company in Portland. Occasionally, maybe once or twice a year, he travels on business to the same town on the coast. Sometimes, after he’s filed his report to the home office, he walks the same stretch of beach.
A lot of time has passed, thinks Jim.
The story of the bee and the fish nonetheless soldiers on, like a line without a beginning or an end. His memory may be inaccurate. He doesn’t really care.
What he does care about, however, is that it’s a testament to his recognition of the value of early memories. He’s getting old now and the accumulated record of his memories becomes more important as his tale enters its final chapters.
His spiritual analysis of these memories reaches a conclusion not unlike the icons in Greek Orthodoxy.
* * Society is a collection of our memories. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laozi#cite_note-16
Our ideas describe these memories. The mystery of humanity is the interface of society and these ideas. The source and ideal of all existence is unseen, but not transcendent. This thought humbles Jim by his feeling of his special place within nature.