These are a few pictures that I have shared before but fit together so well with this theme. It’s so true that we rarely take time to look up but when we do it can be magical. Ten things I have seen by looking up:
Clouds racing across the sky.
An eagle being chased by a blackbird.
Clouds morphing from one thing into another.
Glimpses into other people’s lives.
The beauty of days past.
The creativity of someone now long dead.
Unintended glimpses up someone’s skirt (I was at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower trying to take a picture – completely unintentional).
Crazy geometrical shapes.
The arms of trees reaching out to each other.
And very occasionally, because you really have to be in the right space, the hand of God.
After our voyage around the Mediterranean, our ship sailed north and docked in Southampton. It was a short drive to Stonehenge in a bus full of exhausted teenagers. We had spent the previous night up all night having a very tame but late party in our dormitory. No booze, and of course no drugs, but lots of giggling. We pulled off on the side of the road and walked along the pathway to the henge. Back in 1974, you could still walk in and around the giant stones. You would think that a bus full of teenagers wandering around would not make for a peaceful experience. In fact, a number of my compatriots chose to stay on the bus and so there were only a handful of us. I was just 13 when I was there, but I still remember the peace and solemnity of the place. The wind blew across the fields, just like you might hear on the Canadian prairie. There are a few places that I have been that have exuded a feeling of spirituality: Wenaskawin buffalo jump on the prairies, Sanjusangendo Temple in Kyoto, Lynn Canyon in Vancouver, Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island, sitting in the Louvre before the Impressionist’s work that I studied in university and admired from before that, and, of course, Stonehenge. It is sad that vandals made it impossible for people to continue to be able to walk between the stones and feel the power of the place.
Just to the northeast of Tunis, on the coast, in the suburb of Carthage, lie the ruins of ancient Carthage. The political and military reach of Carthage in the 5th century BC extended all across north Africa, from Morocco to Libya and Mediterranean islands such as Corsica, Sicily, Crete Cyprus, and Sardinia.
My first foray into international travel introduced me to the magic of wandering through stones and structures that were built and used in people’s lives literally thousands of years before. It was awe inspiring, even though I really didn’t understand it fully at the time. I’m sure that my experiences of being able to touch history in this way played a real role in my becoming a history teacher.