"They Didn't Know They Were History . . ."



It's what Kasey said to me as we mused about the historic peoples who'd meandered down the same ancient path we were on, perhaps musing about those who'd walked it before them, not realizing their own footsteps would fade into the history of the landscape. And there we were, plodding along, making the tracks of our era, marveling at a past we would soon be part of, the idea of taking our place there as incomprehensible to us as it was to them.




We were in the Cotwolds, a region of damp foggy fields, hilly forests, and relic villages in England's countryside. We stayed the night on a farm built hundreds of years ago, tromped through pastures alongside craggy stone fences in need of mending, and crept down a darkened tree-canopied path of yore. We saw the old, the really old, and the present all blur together in the dense misty air. It's a setting that makes you understand the meaning of timelessness.






Perhaps that's why so many myths and legends hail from England's rural provinces. In wandering about the green windscape, the otherworldly kingdoms of J. R. R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis appear sensible; a natural outgrowth of the scenes that inspired them. Pastoral Britannia is a world where curtains rustle in bygone manors, gates swing open by forces unseen, beckoning passersby into restful graveyards, and names like "Rose Cottage" or "Barnclose" are written in fairy-like script on ethereal dwellings with wooden doors festooned by golden knockers shaped like maidens' heads. Altogether, it does seem enchanted.

As I traipsed about these mythical hinterlands, preoccupied with how time folds over itself, the sections so much less segregated than we think, a quote from C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, kept springing to mind, which I will leave you with -- as well as a photograph of Kasey that I took at the end of our last hike. It looks to me that she's standing at the outer edges of a wardrobe leading to Narnia, or at the threshold of a keyhole, contemplating very Alice-like, if she should cross through to the other side. Or maybe it's just a picture of a girl in a drippy tunnel, about to reenter the nebulous world of the Cotswolds. It is all much the same thing.

“But do you really mean, sir,” said Peter, “that there could be other worlds - all over the place, just round the corner - like that?”

“Nothing is more probable,” said the Professor


3 comments:

Maya said...

Hello Anne -- this is The Town Tart, here. The comment you left on my blog broke my little tart heart. I just read it last night -- and it has woken me out of my slumber. Thank you for leaving that note and I can't wait to read through your archives. The entries on the front page are wonderful.

Thank you again!

Bob said...

The picture reminds me of the 1960's anti drug campain of the skeleton with 2 people shooting up inside the head. But I am old it sort of like the physiotherapeutic (sp)of the ink smugs what do you see now.Happy Pie day today (3.14)Very Engineery. Bob

anne spice said...

Ms. Tart! So happy you stopped by for a visit . . . and I can't think of a more appropriate post to greet you . . . the Cotswolds aren't quite Ireland, but I'm sure you're well acquainted with the misty green magic of which I speak.

And Bob, you have indeed opened my eyes to the other, ummm, more freakish, notions my tunnel image might conjur. Oy, only an engineer could segue from "shooting up" to talk about pi. 3.14 day? Who knew?