". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Why We Travel

     . . . . From a piece in the NY Times by one writer visiting a place another writer made famous within the small circles of the sorts of people who read such books: 
... it occurs to me that what Salter is actually writing about is the way we walk through our memories like a stranger in a forgotten town. 
“The myriad past, it enters us and disappears,” he writes. “Except that within it, somewhere, like diamonds, exist the fragments that refuse to be consumed. Sifting through … one discovers the true design.”
Which design helps one makes some, if, sometimes, only little, sense of the present, as well as the past of all those long-ago other times that came before us. 

I have felt this way myriad times in the places that are old and brimming with the past. I don't know about Salter, but for me though, they have to be places about which I bring a great deal of knowledge already acquired about the place's past. But however this takes possession of the visitor, these are the memories of the place that do not fade. Personal memory overlain on historical memory. History embedded in geography. Essential for historians or anyone who assumes to write of past times, places and people.

A place where I had the experience described above, the Cisalpine (South-east French and North-west Italian coasts) Provençal  French village perché of le Bar-sur-loup, in a range of Alps above Nice.

The photos in the NY Times piece would have appeared quite different to me if I had not spent so many hours walking in le Bar-sur-loup and taking my own photos.

I've had those fizzing electric sensations in, among other places, New England, Europe, the upper and lower South, the Caribbean, England, France, and often in various sections of New York City.  This allows me the freedom to write of these places.

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