Speed is like a dozen transatlantic flights without ever getting off the plane. Time change. You lose, you gain. Makes no difference so long as you keep taking the pills. But sooner or later you've got to get out because it's crashing, and then all at once the frozen hours melt out through the nervous system and seep out the pores. (Withnail and I)

Time, like a drug seems mutable. As if it was only yesterday. Where were you when Kennedy was shot? Where were you when Princess Diana died? Where were you on 9/11? What were you doing? What were you feeling? What about your friends and family?

To things trapped in time, it is linear, except that hunger, fear, memory, health and myriad sensations are timeless. When Tollund Man was hanged, 300, perhaps 400 years BC, his last conscious thoughts were unlikely much different to you or I would be if we were about to be executed. It may not have been fear. It may have been outrage at his treatment, like Saddam Hussein, or it may have been a quiet acknowledgment of his fate; an offering to appease the gods. He was almost certainly hungry, something we can all understand. But for sure, his feelings and emotions and thoughts were hardly any different to ours. Indeed, there are plenty of written accounts of people - mainly important people - contemporary with Tollund Man, which evince the A to Z of human emotion.
One of my favourite places in the British Isles is Hadrian's Wall. Its remains, sturdy in places, and redolent with the minutiae of Roman Life, down to the latrines and the stuff that we all have, is like looking at the stars, it evokes for me the knowledge of the eternal. There is enough information about The Wall to give us vivid images of life at the time including little, what you might call, text messages from one young girl to another, written almost 2000 years ago:

Claudia Severa to her Lepidina greetings. On 11 September, sister, for the day of the celebration of my birthday, I give you a warm invitation to make sure that you come to us, to make the day more enjoyable for me by your arrival, if you are present (?). Give my greetings to your Cerialis. My Aelius and my little son send him (?) their greetings.  I shall expect you, sister. Farewell, sister, my dearest soul, as I hope to prosper, and hail. To Sulpicia Lepidina, wife of Cerialis, from Severa.

It may have been a 9/11 she did not forget.

Music: Alex Harvey again - Roman Wall Blues. Words by W.H.Auden

And did you notice, children, that the little dancing people are enjoying it too!


Jim Baxter said...

One of my favourite places in the UK is Skara Brae. Nothing much happened there but it happened for hundreds of years thousands of years ago.

I have no religion, as, ahem, my disciples will have noticed. But I do believe in physics - maybe that is my religion. Consciousness arises from particles or waves or things that are both - there is no doubt about that in my mind - but at what levels it can exist we cannot know.

Spartan said...

Your post strikes a chord with me ... l was born on the 11th Sept. ;-)

Favourite place ... Knossos, Crete. Home of the Labyrinth?

Richard said...

On Wenlock Edge the wood's in trouble
His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves;
The gale, it plies the saplings double,
And thick on Severn snow the leaves.

'Twould blow like this through holt and hanger
When Uricon the city stood:
'Tis the old wind in the old anger,
But then it threshed another wood.

Then, 'twas before my time, the Roman
At yonder heaving hill would stare:
The blood that warms an English yeoman,
The thoughts that hurt him, they were there.

There, like the wind through woods in riot,
Through him the gale of life blew high;
The tree of man was never quiet:
Then 'twas the Roman, now 'tis I.

The gale, it plies the saplings double,
It blows so hard, 'twill soon be gone:
To-day the Roman and his trouble
Are ashes under Uricon.