Memory is such a complicated thing! I could never recollect anything. But I have learned a trick. I have learned to see my recollections in the world.
     Don't you know that all our
recollections are hidden in the world? The world is so big! Everything is in it. Right now, around us, is everything! But we don't see it, we think that there is only walls, furniture and computer around us. Moreover, when you're looking at the computer you see nothing but a screen!..
    When I was little I always came across intricate pictures, in which I had to find a postman, for example, or a cyclist, or a boy hiding in the bushes. For some reason they were always hiding in bushes.
    Now there are no more boys hiding, no cyclists and not even any postmen in my world. I know postmen are really fond of hiding. Perhaps, they gradually perfected this skill and having mastered it, they have now completely disappeared from my world.
    But I do remember them! They are one of the things I can still remember very well. And I am constantly looking for them everywhere. I can rarely walk past the bushes in calmly - without taking a peep inside. And I find a lot of curious things in there, I must tell you. One can find all kinds of things in bushes, if he's good at looking! But there are no longer any postmen.
    First I felt VERY sad about it, then - just sad, and then I decided not to give up and to go on searching. And then, one by one, I began to come across the recollections hidden in the bushes.
    As soon as it began I hurried to my artist-friends. I have a lot of artist-friends, as I myself draw worse than Antoine de Saint-Exsupery. I've never even drawn an elephant digested by a boa constrictor. When artists see such feebleness, they sigh, abandon their families and all their affairs, take their weapons and set out to rescue the blunderer who's got himself into trouble. All the artists I know remember that once they were fearless knights.
    There, at the place, they stare at the bushes and blink for a long time, trying to chase away the images swarming around their heads. I'll let you in on a secret concerning artists. Generally speaking, all real artists can't see anything. You always have to show them what to draw. Otherwise they'll draw anything that jumps into their heads. But if you pull the twigs apart and thrust memories right under an artist's nose, he freezes just as I do in front of books from THERE. He is afraid to scare them away, he carefully examines them with his hands, caresses, blows off the flower pollen stuck to them, and frightens away the wasps that are as mad for recollections as they are for jam.
    I'd like to warn you beforehand: once you've noticed that an artist has reached wasps, quickly get out of the way. The very next moment he'll get an idea that the wasps will spoil everything. He lets out an inhuman cry, grabs the recollection and quickly, with his eyes rolling bloodthirsty squeezes it into the picture.
    As far as I can see, artists cannot stand freely hiding recollections at all. It makes them nervous and overexcited. They seem to have a tribal disease - all of them think that recollections shouldn't live in unexplored wildernesses. As though the paint would chip from them if they do! Recollections, they suppose, should live in pictures…
And let them go on living in pictures - what difference does it really make to you and me? We both know how many recollections are still hiding around us. That'd be enough for any artist.
    By the way, this very fire I also found in the bushes. This is a recollection. And the artists have made a picture out of it, to share it with you. This is just a little flame…
But then those who are engaged in sales and marketing rushed upon it; they called it Zen Fire. The artists and I, we tried to explain to them that it was not a Zen fire at all, but just a recollection of some very ancient bonfire we'd once sat around with you… We wanted to explain to them that if they give this bonfire a name, they'd spoil everything… Because a bonfire can't have a name, it only has a flame … But they told us it was exactly what Zen was, and that without a name they wouldn't be able to exhibit this picture, and thus wouldn't be able to give it to you…
    And then I understood where the postmen were hiding! I'd been looking for them in the bushes, but I should have searched in the places where pictures are delivered to friends. That shocked me so much that I resigned myself and said: OK, give it any name you like. Perhaps this name is your recollection- that I haven't got. And maybe at that time this flame also had a name… Why should we offend it? A name is a very necessary thing, so let the fire have it too. At last, it will have something to change- if it doesn't like this name.
But I remember the way this flame lit up the faces… It lit them up in such a way, as if it wanted me to remember them forever…