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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spots of time and memory making

I’ve experienced so many ‘spots in time’ as we’ve travelled around Crete and Cyprus these last couple of months that my spirit if visible would appear polka-dotted. According to the poet William Wordsworth, ‘spots in time', discrete critical moments that we experience, such as a few minutes in the countryside taking in a bucolic scene, can number among some of the most significant moments in our lives. I'm more conscious of these 'spots of time' now than I used to be so when we have a "stop the car!" moment, I make an effort to fix the image in my memory. I gaze as long and hard as I can, I take a photo (or two or three) and I make notes about the light, smells and sounds around me.

Wordsworth wrote in The Prelude:
There are in our existence spots of time,
That with distinct pre-eminence retain

A renovating virtue, whence–depressed

By false opinion and contentious thought,

Or aught of heavier or more deadly weight,

In trivial occupations, and the round

Of ordinary intercourse–our minds

Are nourished and invisibly repaired;

A virtue, by which pleasure is enhanced,

That penetrates, enables us to mount,

When high, more high, and lifts us up when fallen.

The film ‘Spots of Time’ explores Wordsworth’s ideas and attempts to translate his poetry into film while the ‘Spots of Time’ photography project captures images of the Lake District at night, when all the tourists have gone home, as it would have been in Wordsworth's time.
Alain de Botton reflects upon Wordsworth and his 'spots of time' in The Art of Travel, and you can download Wordsworth’s poems at Project Gutenberg.

1 comment:

Prêt à Voyager said...

I'm so excited. I finally ordered a copy of "The Art of Travel" yesterday (inspired by all your references)... Going to try to hold off until May (Cambodia/Thailand) to read it. God knows I'll have enough time on airplanes and plenty of time to ponder it!