A friend once told me to stop beating my head and looking for what connects my erratic interests. At the time he told me this, I was pissed off that my interest with botany was taking away time I needed for writing and something I just started exploring:
Once in history, when writing and paper didn’t exist, people kept memories through the spoken word. But the human brain is fallible and our ancestors knew this. They knew they needed tools to help them remember. One of these tools was place. For example, among Austrailia’s aboriginal people, songs were used to navigate landscapes. The songs, which were narratives, were remembered by walking on the land and the land is navigated through memories within the songs (cf. The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin).
With the arrival of writing and printing, the use of place as mnemonic device has declined. We can easily capture memories through photos, audo recordings, and notes. However, this does not mean that memory’s reliance on matter (landspace, objects, scents, etc.) ceases.
Most often than not, the answer we are searching for lies not in walking new paths but in re-walking old ones. This means that when we are old enough, what we seek is often found through relearning.