Damage done to many of the ruins, castles, and palaces for the most part was not weather or even war related (this is especially true in southern Tuscany). Towns would get abandoned by the plague, poor crops, better commerce elsewhere and those that came later would need building materials for their homes. Imagine the wealth of stone and marble left behind. The thought of a former ruler’s bedroom wall now being used for a farmer or fishmonger’s home seems to bring balance into the equation. Not justice, just balance. I feel that, though they were on some level bringing about a blank spot in a future architectural historian’s mind, their act of pillage and plunder for survival is as significant to history as the Medici’s. Repopulating a place of lonely stone with flesh, voice, food, life.

I want to take a lesson from these foragers. Find some brilliant structure of my past and refashion it to my present day self. Lost love becomes poetry. Forgotten fears become strength. Dreams I have not dared to touch somehow reach back out and tug, pull, force my hand again. Wouldn’t it be nice to stumble on our rough stone, look out to see it jutting into our psyche’s landscape and grasp the potential?

Happy Valentine’s Day.

4 responses to “Ruins

  1. I had a very similar reaction to the Great Wall of China, which has had a similar fate from a similar source. Most of the wall reflects the historical insignificance which the locals place on it–landowners who seem to care little about the grand history of China or the goings-on in Beijing and the world, but care deeply about their land, their family, and their community. For them, the Great Wall is an oasis–a quarry where they will find a seemingly endless supply of stone for building.

  2. I love the fact that need dictates regardless of culture. The Great Wall as an oasis—nice perspective.

  3. Metaphor aside, I am looking around my home and thinking of the foraging I have done to make it the cozy space it is. I have the wooden rocker my mother rocked me in, the bar my grandfather called a medicine cabinet but really hid his whiskey in, the coat tree, a trunk from my father. And things I have collected, the door with the embedded mirror, the window box, and the hutch I found on the street and loved back to life. Hand-me-downs or dumpster diving makes it seem less romantic than my home really is. So glad I dumped the boyfriend that said 90% of my stuff was crap.

  4. The amazing thing about Rome is that so much of the marble from the coliseum and the forum was used in many of the churches of Rome. How’s that for reuse. Hey, let’s use the marble from the Pagans to build the churches for the Catholics. (I, of course, can say this because I’m Catholic.

    As for your insightful words about the past, thank you!

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