The bottoms of my feet remember every sidewalk crack. I can close my eyes and relive the sensation of speeding down the block on my roller skates, sensing every crack and bump and wad of moss in my path, and adjusting my feet to them without even thinking about it. My feet knew. The soles of my feet knew the way by heart.
I was a tree-climbing girl. The house next door had two large apple trees in its back yard, and while I could climb them both, the smaller of the two was MINE. I can close my eyes and relive the sensation of lifting myself up, up, up, closer to the sky with each little hoist, and I can picture MY BRANCH, the highest I dared to go in the tree, and how it felt when I sat on it and leaned on the branch beside it. Sometimes I had a paperback book in my pocket, and would dare to relax, lean on the tree trunk, and read in the sky. Other times, I just picked and ate apples, and threw the cores down on the ground.
My feet remember. My arms and legs remember.
I was a singularly clumsy little girl, and now I am an even more clumsy old woman, but when I sit and close my eyes and think about those days, I remember every sidewalk crack and every apple tree branch. My very skin remembers.
Kinesthetic memory? Sensory motor learning? I dunno. Them’s fancy ways of saying, simply, that even when the body is no longer willing, the body still remembers how it used to be.
The spirit was always willing.