Remember the Way Back


Contributing Editor
Walter W. Pickut

Amnesia is never funny, but at least one kind is so common that we forget we have it. Just imagine forgetting what it is that you forgot. How would you even know?

Unfortunately, the kind of amnesia I am talking about makes us vulnerable to people telling us things they want us to “remember” as if they were true. That’s called gaslighting—manipulating someone into questioning their own sanity, or in the case I’m talking about—forgetting their own history.

It’s common—some would say it’s universal today—in politics. History as recent as yesterday is so terrible, that the only hope for tomorrow is to up-end, turn the tables, and capsize the boat. Then only one “Champion” is left to make it all right.

Autocrats and despots count on our amnesia to open a hole in our minds where they can stuff in fake memories—gaslight us into a “new day.”

Know your history—all of it—to get back to the real today. It’s the only safe road to the future.

But then, there are gentler kinds of amnesia, the kind that only dims our eyes a little. Some things remembered would warm us and inspire us today if we just made time to remember them.

Consider the ways we forget on purpose. We isolate and insulate ourselves, for example, from nature itself. “Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet,” playwright Arthur Miller once said. And how about this mind’s-eye memory…

I’m singing in the rain
Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feelin’
I’m happy again
I’m laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The sun’s in my heart
And I’m ready for love

So, when did you and I give ourselves amnesia for those days of playing in the rain, jumping in autumn’s great leaf-piles, and laying in the springtime grass to watch the clouds float by overhead?

Sadly, many of us seem to have given ourselves amnesia about Mother Nature. She’s so forgotten that we’ve lost her presence in the way we live today. Humanity was born a part of nature in all its ways. Yet even when we remember it, we gentrify it with selective amnesia. But nature is still as wild as it is beautiful.

Today, many still enjoy the wilder sides of nature, the sides that can feed us, the sides that can test us and hone the senses and skills of our natural heritage.

This week, your Jamestown Gazette wants to inspire you in recalling and recapturing the adventures that might cure your amnesia about some of Nature’s deepest truths.

Steve Sorensen’s cover story about this year’s hunting season is our invitation for you to consider enjoying, experiencing, and maybe regaining your appreciation for one of humanity’s most time-honored experiences of the nature we were all born into.

The hunters among us remember what too many of us may have forgotten. Nature has nurtured humanity for ages, yet she’s still here for us today—if we’ll just remember not to forget.

Carl Sagan once said, “We start out a million years ago in a small community on some grassy plain; we hunt animals, have children, and develop a culture… but we know almost nothing about our surroundings.”

The best hunters have learned how to read the wind and the sky, the trails and the brooks, and nature’s subtlest signs—they are all worth remembering.

Enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut
Contributing Editor

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.