pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: At dusk

14 March 2013

At dusk


St. Martin's Cathedral
Ieper (Ypres), Belgium
9 July 2012

When I set up last year's trip, I'd been given certain mandates by various family members, but some of where we ended up was predicated on practicality. We traveled back roads, narrow and winding, where a few miles could easily eat many hours. I'd been told and had heard from various quarters that Ypres was a must-see if for no other reason than its beauty. Because this was also a sojourn with certain emphasis on history, it was a must see anyway.

Ypres is not large and we'd walked through the main square, visiting the Menin Gate and watching the Last Post Ceremony, which is moving and heartbreaking and beautiful. Afterward, to lighten the mood, our guide bought us chips at a shop in the square, and we nibbled and laughed and talked.

Once I'd gotten the family safely back to the hotel, I took off again out into the streets. I was enchanted, absolutely bewitched by this beautiful place which had been bombed nearly flat almost 100 years before and then rebuilt, the main square reconstructed as close as possible to the original.

It was dusk, the light fading fast, but I hurried down narrow streets, returning the greetings of those I passed. There are places that I want to absorb through my skin, to breathe in and carry with me. I was surprised by the stillness, the seeming tranquility of modern-day Ypres, even while I contemplated its devastating past. I sat in the square, and watched the normalcy of people about their evening, talking, laughing, heading to a restaurant or home. Lights in shops were switched off and evening air grew chill.

Slowly, I walked back to the hotel, thoughtful, as the sky darkened to night.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40.

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