Monday, June 8, 2015


       Myers-Briggs and other personality tests attempt to describe a person's tendencies and temperament. The temperament types were originally identified by Greek philosophers and were attributed to the four "humours:" blood (Sanguine), yellow bile (Choleric), black bile (Melancholic) and phlegm (Phlegmatic). It's worth a google search if you've never heard of them. 

       I'm not fond of the association with body fluids but reading about each type is interesting. The one thing I know is that I am not choleric. I kind of wish I were, because the typology reminds me of my friends who are so organized, on top of everything, know what to say at any moment, and their cars are clean.  I seem to be jumbled up when it comes to temperament type, but test consistently with Myers-Briggs.

       It explains why some enjoy reminiscing more than others. Of course, much of it has to do with whether or not the past was worth reminiscing about. I would think that most have some fond memories, the ones which comfort us--of being held by a loving parent, of a favorite pet, of a place, of an old friend. 

       We've had a great experience visiting family and friends on the East Coast recently on vacation. I feel like it's recharged my soul. All of the sights, the smells, the memories can't possibly be chronicled. I'll block the fact that it is so much more crowded in many areas. Cars go faster, there are six lanes where there were two, houses have sprung up where I remember vast fields. But some areas are not changed. 

       Northern Baltimore County is lush and green and I find myself wondering how I never noticed it as a child and young adult. I rolled down the window when driving up the road I grew up on, covered in a canopy of trees beside the stream I knew every inch of. I drew a deep breath and memories flooded back. The smell--I hadn't experienced it in years and quite honestly, I was almost in tears. Wet granite with last autumn's leaves mulching into soil. The sound of wind in the trees and the water cascading over rocks into pools. My brothers and friends and I built dams and caught crayfish and salamanders. The minnows and water-striders were too fast so we watched them when we were tired.

       We never seem able to see all the folks I wish to when coming back to Maryland. I saw one old friend I rode ponies with. I kept my first pony at Amy's farm. We rode to pony club each Sunday, at first with her Mom, then later just the two of us. The roads were less traveled and young teen girls could giggle and canter, crossing fields and roads the four miles to Bacon Hall Farm, carefree. It took a good 30-45 minutes and we loved it. The United States Pony Club Association teaches young people how to care for and ride horses. There were horse shows--Amy did a whole lot better than I--and three-phase events: cross-country jumping, show-jumping and dressage. 

       Seeing Amy again brought a flood of memories and much laughter.  Sometimes I wish I were less melancholic, remembering and feeling so deeply. The balancing parts of sanguine and phlegmatic bring me back and help put all into perspective.

       I'm happy to focus on the positive. All of us have sad times we'd rather not dwell on. As long as they've been dealt with in a healthy way I'm happy to let them go. I don't live in the past, but the past helped make me. I hope that it won't be too long until I can roll down the window again and experience the aroma of memories.

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