Rediscovering Port Dickson with old and new friends caught me by surprise. I did not expect my positive memories to surface as quickly and intensely as they did. While the town has not aged well (perhaps it was never as good as I remember), the sand and settings of a high school vacation spot is as wonderful as ever. The recent experience left me with several reminders.
Man created structures slowly decay. You can see and feel it. Whatever the conditions of the facilities at the Golden Sands retreat center were, they are worse now. In contrast, natural beauty remains constant except for the touch of man. The Port Dickson sand was as wonderfully golden as it ever was, the sunsets inspiring, and the sense of peace constant.
One does not have to relive memories in order to be touched by them. Going back, after forty years, means that everything is different. It was a fresh experience. It was also enriched by long forgotten events that introduced emotions and memories into the present. The arch and single lamp at the top of the steps is still the same, although the people that walked under it were different than they were. The natural willingness to talk with those that call this home remained a constant, as did the smiles then and now.
Something old can be new. Old playing cards, untouched, were the starting point of laughter and new memories. Cheap rice and uninspiring food linked the past and the present. The role towels played, then and now, was something that you had to be there to experience. The present was driven by an initial absence of. The past shaped by how they were used (abused). When one comes to something old with openness to the possible, new things happen.
It was a short rediscovery. I left sensing that David’s observation could have described this piece of Port Dickson; “God’s my island hideaway, keeps danger far from the shore, throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.” (Psalm 32.7) It is also one I want to rediscover again.