My memories tend to pile up around the holidays, fogging my thoughts with the textures of Christmas seasons from the past. Today I’m in a kitchen somewhere in Ohio, teaching myself to make crepes while I think about last year in Finland, where I remembered thinking about a sunny Christmas in New Orleans, where I was thinking about a strange holiday in Vegas when I watched a cowboy behind the sliding doors of the Sahara, eating an ice cream cone like he wanted to kill somebody.

That cowboy still shows up in my dreams. Salvador Dali described his paintings as “hand-painted dream photographs,” and I often think about that phrase. Last night I dreamt I was walking down a corridor of rooms with the names of the people I’ve lost on the doors. A woman stood before a door with my father’s name, her hand on the handle. “The objects inside this room are this person’s true identity,” she said. “Do you really want to open the door?”

My attention span feels like gripping a snake these days, wriggling and squirming in all directions. Tonight it wanders through the living rooms and dim sum parlors of past holidays, mostly happy scenes that are slightly shaded by the melancholy of time and people lost, the regret that I didn’t savor the moment when I was there. I remember a drowsy version of ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ playing to an empty banquet hall at midnight, which seems to capture the holiday gestalt in this year of isolation. And I’m going to do my best to remember every detail.

Horrid Red – Marble Staircase I & II

Banquet in Blue | Burundi Cloud, 2012 | Bandcamp