Listening for Echoes

I love antiquities. The smell of dust is an aphrodisiac to me. Ancient places and endless vistas fire my imagination like nothing else. The threshold of human interest in the production of beautiful objects and the value ascribed to exotic materials (read labor-intensive to acquire here), extends back at least 75,000 years.

Museums exert a special type of gravitational pull that require my physical presence. It’s like a vortex. I enter and disappear as though swallowed by some monstrous creature. Only libraries can challenge the lure and to be honest, even books lose out to antiquities. Give me a box of artifacts and a corner to hoard them in, I’ll be blissful. Mine. MINE.

My family is accustomed to this behavior. College friends knew it was about to happen when I took my foot off the gas pedal and veered toward an exit. People still joke about my radar for old things. Gravity is hard to deny.

History is attached to objects. Stories waiting to be heard if you can only get close enough to hear the whispers. Stretch your mind and coax an echo out of time. There are so many tales waiting.

Like lost languages longing to be heard again, the words are contained within the scraps of papyri, carved into great chunks of marble, knapped into flint and obsidian lithics, delicately incised on bone and stone, and ground into strings of shell beads.

The ancient world was filled with amazing achievements and architectural wonders that have succumbed to history. Too few  rediscover the sophistication of the human past. Around the world the arts of our ancestors sit, waiting for the ear that listens, holding all our prehistory in their details.

Don’t you want to know? What museums are within your reach? Visit one now. Today. Get in the car and go. Celebrate your rich heritage. Post a vignette of your cultural tradition. Offer up a nugget of history. Tell me about the greatest achievements of your ancestors. What did they construct? What did they create? What stories have survived the centuries?

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  1. #1 by Carrie on August 18, 2011 - 4:15 am

    Great post Lesann! I can honestly say that as an adult I haven't been in a museum in over 20 years. Now how did that happen? Thanks for the nudge to go exploring to see what's in my area…I'm sure I'll be surprised.

  2. #2 by Diana Murdock on August 18, 2011 - 4:33 am

    I love ancient buildings, weapons – things like castle ruins, anything medieval, goblets, jewelry. Those items still hold the energy from the owners, vibrating through the centuries. I also love the skies – the endless unknown. My claim to fame is Ponce de Leon. My great(times I can't remember) grandfather, who searched for the Fountain of Youth. My family tree is rich with explorers and adventurists. That is my high….

  3. #3 by Lesann Berry on August 18, 2011 - 11:17 am

    Yep, old stuff just gets me cranked up. I think every family tree has interesting branches, we've got a few real characters back there in the bloodline too.

  4. #4 by Tameri Etherton on August 18, 2011 - 2:39 pm

    Diana and Lesann, I'm so with both of you. I spent 5 weeks in Scotland/England/France and all I wanted to do was visit castles and museums. My family wasn't as into it as me. I should've had the two of you with me! Can you imagine? We would've been three blissed out women.One of the reasons I love researching books is that I get to go into musty places and sort through history. Ahhhh, I'm getting tingles just thinking about it!

  5. #5 by Jennifer Tanner on August 19, 2011 - 3:51 am

    I remember being in London and seeing remnants of the walls built by the Romans. That blew me away. The last museum I visited was the British Museum. We only spent a couple hours there, certainly not enough to do it justice.

  6. #6 by Lesann Berry on August 19, 2011 - 6:55 pm

    I've got to put England on the menu and concentrate on doing everything in one trip. It's too easy to get distracted and wander off into another country. Romans, castles, old stuff…*swoon*

  7. #7 by Jennifer Tanner on August 20, 2011 - 2:14 am

    We did a few London Walks tours. I could spend an entire month on those alone!

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