I have been fascinated lately with time. My thoughts have pondered and contemplated what kind of impact time truly has on me and the world. Do I have the right perception of it…the right understanding? Is it something that limits me or something I can actually supersede? These thoughts, my companions as of late, have brought me to the realization and belief that time is actually a place. No wonder that for the longest time humans have been intrigued by the concept of time travel!
Walking around countless cities, villages and castles throughout Italy and now Spain, I still find myself with my jaw hanging open in childish wonder at the ancient-ness of what I get to see, touch, and experience. Some may think old stones and ruins are boring, but I love them! From the bright green of soft moss that creates patchwork on the stones, to tendrils of ivy that crawl up tower walls and in crevices and cracks, I find myself having to stand for the longest time and just take it all in with my eyes like savoring a heady delicious glass of wine. It’s intoxicating to me. I start to feel it work its way from my eyes, to deeper into me, passing through my mind into my heart and even the pit of my stomach. All over and throughout me, I sense it and my senses are all over it.
Times like these have taught me so much about taking my time and being still. The pristine value of being quiet and listening, has never been so powerful or precious to me. When I walk around a rural Spanish village or wander up stone stairs in a castle tower or ride in boats down turquoise Venetian canals, I go slow. I also stop a lot and stand still a lot and look for as many minutes as I desire. My eyes and heart do not seem to ever grow tired of taking it all in by taking my time.
My experiences in this manner are not limited only to the remains of man-made architectural works, but are just as evident to me and powerful out in nature and the open countryside. I feel it in the sound of wind rustling through leaves in trees bent over with age; from ruts in the road where numerous feet and wheels have trod the ground. These are to me like loud voices of things now unseen that long ago happened, seeping into the earth to return to dust, the very dust I am walking on.
It was in this way, this practice and approach to living, that I recently had the thought that I feel so intensely and so deeply about these places because they hold so much of history and time. They embody layers of history and are a place of time. Think about it…
Picture yourself standing before an ancient castle, ages old, and imagine the people who stood there all the years before you. Their ways of life, what they fought and lived for, how the stones you are touching and seeing were placed one upon the other; how the very land you are standing on has seen life and death, war and peace, tragedy and joy. Layer upon layer of feelings, energies, happenings, words and songs, cries and stories, people…So many different times all in one place. The places of past, present, and future. And I see them now as layers. These majestic remains are enchanting in all the times that have had their place and moments there. Layer upon layer has occurred and existed there and I guess in that way, leaves its mark on the land itself, in the remains themselves.
These places are special to me. Such ancient areas hold for me such magic and a depth far more real than what we see physically. The more I am here in Europe, the more I seek to make it my home, the more it seems to be opening up to me. Here I thought that I was opening up to it, working to connect and allow it to become part of me. Yet it is the other way around. Other senses of mine are becoming heightened, more sensitive and acute as I cease all my striving and am simply still in these awesome magnificent places of times. I am feeling that it takes time and patience to start to conceive of the layers of history, to pay attention to them and the honor I have to stand among them now.