How do I stop present cruelty from marring the untouchable beauty of the past? There is something so romantic about the past. Something so beautiful, so untouchable, so untainted about past memories. They drift into your head like clouds and bring with it fuzzy thoughts of love, maybe a muted pain, perhaps even an enchanted sadness. It really is impossible to think about the past without some or all of these feelings because, as always, the past is gone, not belonging to us but to an approximation, an imitation of thoughts, a re-enactment of memories like a vintage film reel.