My brother and sisters seem to remember every moment of their adult lives, all the days and months and years spent with their children. Their homes are dotted with photos. Family gatherings are full of filigreed stories about charging bears and epic tantrums and bicycles swerving off piers into lakes.
I too recall much from the early years with family, and now I work desperately to appreciate every moment with my daughter.
But I remember little of those middle decades. They were kinetic, crackling with adrenaline. Yet they blur into only a semi-sweet haze.
I have no history.
On our last day at the lake, the temperature warmed to near zero. I grabbed cross-country skis and took off across Lake Sustina, the only human on a vast lake. Under a brilliant afternoon sun, my skis seemed to fly.
At the far shore, as Mt. Wrangell slid toward violet in the falling light, I turned around. A cold wind rippled through my sweaters. I realized I had been skiing with the wind and would fight it all the way back.
Within moments, my right ski broke through ice apparently warmed by a spring in the shallows. I lurched left, sprawling to avoid drowning.
My ski froze up, useless.
I pulled off both skis and started to walk, slipping with every step of my iced-up boots. I began shivering. The sun would set in less than an hour. I was maybe two hours from the cabin.
I was in deep trouble.
Minutes later, I heard a snowmobile. It drew close. My brother had come tracking me, sent by a worried father.
All of this I recall vividly.
I can't wait until my daughter is old enough to hear about it.
Heikes is an editor at The Times.