History. The word has a looming quality to it. Towering, imposing, delicately impossible, and yet so real. Structures, elements that have been around longer than I can count. The numbers get smaller, buoyed up and further distanced by acronyms, BC and AD – tiny specks of years of landmark achievement and artistry, all towering, imposing, delicately impossible, and yet so real.
Sometimes it only hits me when I’m standing right there, next to chunks from my old school books that history is alive, continuous, a conjugation of time; that the bloodstains and footprints, and the sweat from ancient bodies has dried up right where I’ve so carelessly placed my foot; that they’ve survived all the madness different worlds have thrown at them; that they are still as beautiful and as terrifying as they probably were all those years ago when they first came into being.
Sometimes their reality is what makes them surreal. And you’re never sure if it’s because of this or despite this they’ll always stand as testament – of humanity, genius, insanity, cruelty. In the same breathe you look at them in awe and shun them for their wrongs, and then you take a photo, a keepsake of a keepsake, incorporating them into your own history.
These structures are an acknowledgement of our own mortality, that while I will, these, custodians of history, will never truly grow old or wither; that they’ll be here long after I’m gone, and someday in the future, a branch of the family tree will stand here thinking the exact same things.
When you’re lost in your own crazies this is a way to plug back into the moment, to gather perspective; that no matter how much everything changes, not everything changes, and everything changes; that sometimes all you want, is to feel dwarfed by time.