A Million Words

P1000739They say A picture is worth a thousand words.  That may or may not be true but the pictures in my high school history books were not enough to make me a history buff.  Perhaps if I’d visited Rome in my teens instead of in my seventies, I’d have been a more attentive student in Miss Matthew’s Ancient History class.   Perhaps Being there is worth a Million Words and nowhere was that more true than during our visit to Pompeii.  Traveling in a part of the world where there’s another impressive ruin around every corner, it’s easy to become jaded, to notice art and architecture but forget the human dramas seen by the crumbled walls and broken columns.  Pompeii was different.  The excavation of Pompeii left intact a more complete footprint of the city, its roadways intact and enough of the dwellings, shops and even a brothel still standing to offer the echo of the human pulse of the place.   I’d seen, in my history books, pictures of the plaster casts of the inhabitants who died in the storm of volcanic dust in 79 A.D. but seeing them in person and life-sized … some with bones protruding from the plaster … made the tragedy that occurred there very real.  The cast of a dog, contorted in anguish, perhaps told the story best.   I was touched in a way that history in words rarely touches me, much the way I was touched visiting the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

When I was putting together a video of our vacation, I chose music that reflected the mostly joyful nature of our trip.  But for my pictures of Pompeii, I felt compelled to use something a little more somber, Mendelssohn’s Song Without Words in G Major.   I hope this video gives you a sense of the place.

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