May 11, 2000

In addition to doing too many things at once, I'm now a contributor to the Monkeyfist Collective.

Credit for absolutely everything, unconditionally, goes to Bijan.

For a reason I canít remember, I recently recalled an experience I had on a visit to Denmark a few years ago. I was coming back from Copenhagen with two friends and the Danish family we were staying with, we stopped at a modestly identified monument, situated by a long stretch of road, framed by unremarkable fields.

The monument itself was a hollowed-out hill, where a number of locals had apparently hidden from the Nazis for a number of days when they came barging through. The entrance to the cavern was still open, and we climbed through a narrow tunnel into a space about the size of an SUV, sat on the damp rock benches, and lit some of the candles that were left there by others. In the same place that people had waited in fear for days.

Once I got past a cynical wonder that in the US, they would have closed the tunnel for fear of litigation when someone got stuck, a few thoughts came out of this. Sitting in that cave was completely different from anything I ever imagined from reading a textbook, or seeing Schindlerís list. The obvious detached nature of understanding something through media became more evident that I ever would have thought; being immersed in a context, or a place that doesnít just reflect reality, but in a sense is reality, is mind-blowing.

It also occurred to me that all of the really memorable experiences I had in Europe had very little to do with the Eiffel Tower or the Piccadilly Circus. More, they were small tastes of history and reality which are too often glazed over where they might otherwise exist in America. That, and I'm less likely to see them because I live here.

posted by dru in blog