Some mornings and some nights, I don’t know what it is– there’s just this feeling that gets into me. I might describe it like going outside after dark and stopping what you’re doing to draw in the world around you: the crickets, the owls, the velvet blue sky, lady moon, the wind in the trees, and, most spectacularly, the stars. There is nothing quite like the stars to remind us how vast and complex and intricate and haunting and beautiful existence is. I say ‘existence’ because I don’t just mean life; I mean our lives, those that came before us, those that will come after, and everything in and beyond our scope of understanding. Myths, civilizations, galaxies.
When this feeling comes over me I am filled with energy and reverence for all things. I want to read so many books, study histories, ancient cultures, maps, music, art, French, Italian, Latin, law, fashion, pattern, flora, fauna, genetics, psychology, etymology, anatomy, poetry, story, mythology, philosophy, paradox.
There is SO much in life and existence to explore, and in the age of the internet, with so much information so readily available to us, it’s kind of a marvel to me that we aren’t all up to ludicrous hours every night filling our heads with pursuits.
What’s really exciting to me is when separate experiences overlap. You start seeing patterns, making connections– drawing a fuller picture from the pieces. Like mapping out an ancient culture from the relics they left behind.
Actually, I think that’s what prompted this post. I recently finished Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities for the first time (one of THE BEST books I’ve ever read…top three, for sure), and today, while working on an art project, I fancied listening to something: a documentary. I did a quick search online and one of the first that came up was on the French Revolution.
So I’m watching/listening to this History Channel piece on the French Revolution, and not only do I immediately recognize elements consistent with Dickens’ portrayal of Revolution-time France (the storming of the Bastille and the Conciergerie; heads on pikes; “Citizen” instead of Madame/Monsieur; the reverence of the guillotine, and how it came to be used even against its proponents)– I start remembering what I’ve learned about Marie Antoninette (from various sources– admittedly, a large one being the Kirsten Dunst film).
What amazes me most is that three things–
1. Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities
2. Marie Antoinette (2006) &
3. A History Channel presentation of The French Revolution–
all worked together to create this collaborative vision in my head of what this time and place was like. And it worked: the stories reached me. The scenes haunt me. I have distinct impressions, have experienced the collective likeness of a major historical period and I wasn’t even there.
If that’s not incredible, I don’t know what is.