Tag Archives: the past

As often as not

“We are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.” ― Carson McCullers The older I get, the harder travel seems to become. I don’t know if that’s due to changes in the industry …

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Like a fire

“A place that ever was lived in is like a fire that never goes out.” – Eudora Welty The house pictured above is the place I will always think of as my childhood home. I’ve returned there, just to drive by it, several times since my parents first moved away more than twenty years after …

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It harbors beauty

“History should be studied because it is essential to society, and because it harbors beauty.” – Peter N. Stearns Leaving aside for a moment the arguments that might arise from Stearns’ assertion that history is essential to society (I’m one who agrees that it is), I think most everyone will admit that history indeed harbors …

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A pathological nostalgia

“I had a pathological nostalgia.  I grieved not only for my own rapidly receding childhood but also for the years, ‘the pasts,’ that I would never experience.  The past seemed as real to me as the present, as real as another country.  But unlike another country, its borders were closed…pictures felt like the next best …

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An echo from the past

Nothing is Lost by Noel Coward Deep in our sub-conscious, we are told Lie all our memories, lie all the notes Of all the music we have ever heard And all the phrases those we loved have spoken, Sorrows and losses time has since consoled, Family jokes, out-moded anecdotes Each sentimental souvenir and token Everything …

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The greatest time machines

“Two of the greatest time machines ever invented are called memory and imagination.” — Ashleigh Brilliant It’s beginning to look as if this winter will mean a lot of time indoors for most of us.  So it’s a great chance for some time travel!  Pick up a historical novel (and feel free to share recommendations …

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The past is beautiful

“I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.” ― Virginia Woolf Reading this quote, I can only wish that Woolf had thought of these words before she took …

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A kind of introduction

“History is a kind of introduction to more interesting people than we can possibly meet in our restricted lives; let us not neglect the opportunity.” — Dexter Perkins It’s not surprising that the people who tend to show up in history books are interesting types.  But as I’ve often said here, I think everybody is …

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It is all there

“London has the trick of making its past, its long indelible past, always a part of its present. And for that reason it will always have meaning for the future, because of all it can teach about disaster, survival, and redemption. It is all there in the streets. It is all there in the books.” …

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Like a hand waving

“Time was passing like a hand waving from a train that I wanted to be on.” — Jonathan Safran Foer This has to be one of the most evocative analogies I’ve ever known.  It captures perfectly the wistful experience of watching years roll away, just far enough from us to be out of reach. It …

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The light of the past

“…everything is illuminated in the light of the past. It is always along the side of us…on the inside, looking out.” ― Jonathan Safran Foer I think it’s interesting that the rapidly accelerating understanding of genetics is co-occurring with an increase in hobbies related to ancestry.  Scrapbooking, photography, genealogy, cultural studies, family reunions and organized …

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The articulate audible voice

“In books lies the soul of the whole Past Time: the articulate audible voice of the Past, when the body and material substance of it has altogether vanished like a dream.” — Thomas Carlyle There’s at least one realm where the past, present and future really do co-exist, and that is in the world of …

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The last best hope

“The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation…We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth.” — Abraham Lincoln First time visitors to Washington DC often notice that the various monuments located near the mall appear much closer to each …

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Time and culture

“You’ve got to marinate your head, in that time and culture. You’ve got to become them.” ― David McCullough I think one of the best and quickest ways to defeat despair is to read a bit of history and contemplate what life used to be like.  I’ve found that nonfiction often seems best for this, …

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I am glad

“Let others praise ancient times; I am glad I was born in these.” – Ovid There’s a lot to think about in this brief quote.  For one thing, isn’t it amusing to realize that Ovid lived in comparatively modern times, at least as he saw it?  Terms such as “ancient” and “modern” are relative, aren’t …

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Stories to tell

“With thousands of years of human habitation, this land surely has stories to tell.  The trees rustle with whispers of those who have come and gone.” — from a display at the Visitor’s Center at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site Recently Jeff and I visited beautiful Roanoke Island, North Carolina, the site of the mysterious “Lost …

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Strangely enough

“Strangely enough, this is the past that somebody in the future is longing to go back to.” — Ashleigh Brilliant The older I get, the easier it is to romanticize the past.  Of course, some memories are rightly cherished, and today we have difficulties (many of which are technology-related) that past generations did not have to worry about.  …

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