Thursday, July 20, 2017

A midsummer night's thoughts

Back from travel and more travel, lovely but draining. It was a conference, but a conference in Europe, so I got work credit and the benefits of seeing life from another perspective.
  • The perspective of "oh, yeah, Roman ruins, no big deal" to those who live there, but a wondrous thing to me. Walking on roads that I now see are laid in the Roman pattern while not being in Rome gives me a whole sense of the empire's reach that we never got in Latin class and a new appreciation for those stylish nail-soled boots. 
  • And to see foundations laid by the Romans, built up by the Normans, abandoned, reclaimed, repurposed into air-raid shelters or what have you--again, magical. Knowing that there's not a square inch that hundreds of people in previous millennia haven't already walked on--which is not the case where I live--still amazing.
  • Here as there, people take their dogs everywhere, especially the elderly ladies with their tiny dogs, as a matter of course.
  • How I know I'm a hopeless rube: dinner at 9:30 p.m., however delicious, takes some adjustment when you're used to getting up at 5 a.m.
  • The blue of the evening sky. The moon. The moon in the blue sky even close to midnight.
  • Architecture and public sculpture--aspirational, representational, and worth seeing--everywhere I looked. Things happened in these spaces, some terrible, and they were commemorated lest we forget. 
  • Walking to see everything, about 10 miles a day. When you walk, you own the space in a different way than when you ride or drive. We took trams or buses some places, of course, but walked much more than we had before. In my usual walks, I feel as though I own the terrain, as Thoreau did, because I can visualize it all and see the minute changes.  Walking in a strange place gave me a temporary possession or perhaps a different understanding of it, one reinforced by all those cobblestones, narrow streets, and buildings.