avenoir – n. the desire that memory could flow backward

We take it for granted that life moves forward. But you move as a rower moves, facing backwards—you can see where you’ve been, but not where you’re going. And your boat is steered by a younger version of you. It’s hard not to wonder what life would be like facing the other way…

Source: John Koenig: The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows


  1. So much of this was transportive and at the same time disconcerting – yet all of it, beautiful.

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  2. So, so touching!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Either way we still have to leave this world. Everyday is a gift I am glad I don’t know the future. Very interesting to contemplate David.

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  4. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:

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  5. i love the word, but don’t want to know ahead of time, i prefer for it to unfold in it’s own time and the order – i am fascinated by the concept of moving back and forth through time, and our presence in it, so i loved the video.

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  6. Autumn is a time of reflection for me, and I take it as a duty to myself. I once lost a dear friend and did not attempt to grieve because of the pain it brought. Months and then years later, I could not put the pain associated with that dear person’s memory behind me because the agony had grown so terrible. Years later, I had to find a way to grieve so I could let the pain of loss finally pass. So, look to the future, but remember to not avoid the pain because it will become a sea anchor that will always drag you back no matter how hard you row.

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    • Thanks for sharing Dan. You took me along with you with your grief. Your thoughtful and poignant comment reminded me of a passage I just read:

      Who knows what tragedies these happy tourists left behind at home? Into every life crap will fall. Most of us do as well as possible, and some of it works okay, and we try to release that which doesn’t and which is never going to. … Making so much of it work is the grace of it; and not being able to make it work is double grace. Grace squared. Their somehow grounded buoyancy is infectious, so much better than detached martyrdom, which is disgusting.

      ~ Anne Lamott, “Prelude: Victory Lap” from Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace.


  7. So beautifully poignant…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Really makes you think, David. Thank you for sharing. It inspired me to write a story for Thanksgiving and include John’s quote and video. 🙂

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