The pyramids. Uluru. Machu Picchu. Stonehenge.
Places of attraction on Planet Earth that draw thousands daily and millions annually . . . for what, if not to awaken memories cast in stone, tune into vibrations of times past, steady modern lives with the ballast of richer lives (more meaningful, though probably more violent; the price of engagement).
For me, tonight, it is the Alhambra, the ancient Arabian palace high on the hill in the centre of the Spanish city of Granada.
The moment I heard the word, Alhambra, the blood pulsed a little more ferociously through my veins, my senses tuned to new sensations, my heart fluttered, eyes brightened, smile widened.
I am of the view this is the point of all journeys, certainly my own, and judging by the sheer numbers of human beings on pilgrimage to the past, I’d say it’s not just me; we are a nation of visitors to iconic sites, peering through time, paying our respects to what has been; gathering selves in order to make sense of current time and place.
In Istanbul five years ago I felt as if I was standing at the crossroads of all time:
I am queen and slave,
conqueror and king;
I am the great stone pillars connecting earth and sky,
I am the wind and the sea and the wide flat plain.
(from My Pilgrim’s Heart)
Tonight, the near-full moon for company, it is the Alhambra.