Saturday, January 15, 2011


I'm tired today. Maybe I'm just road-weary. Maybe it was the hours of sun and walking at the Temple of Karnak. Maybe it was the interrupted, bumpy sleep on the train last night. Or maybe a combination of all three. Regardless, I don't really feel like writing tonight. The post I wanted to write is going to require a decent amount of time to compose well, and I know I won't do it justice tonight, so I will write instead about a comment that I made today.

The morning was spent at the Temple of Karnak - a temple complex built over a few hundred years dating back to around 1500 BC. Several Pharaohs added to it over the centuries during their reigns. It is a huge complex of red and gold sandstone that is in the process of being restored. Almost every square inch of the walls and columns and doorways are covered in hieroglyphics or figures carved into the rock. In many places the paint is still visible, too. The main hall called the Hypostyle Hall in the Precinct of Amun-Re is a forest of 134 massive stone pillars. This was my favorite part of the temple complex. No matter where I looked, there was a series of pillars receding into the distance. The light changed the colors of the columns from every different angle, sometimes more golden, sometimes more red, sometimes a little gray. But always gorgeous!!

While we walked around and looked and shot photos, James (facetiously) made a remark about the importance of having a photo of himself in the space because "you aren't really there unless you have a picture of yourself there." To which I replied, "Yeah, the proof is in the photo, not the pudding!" Although I don't really believe that, I do like having photos of myself in the places that I go. I shoot so many photos of everything and everyone else, I have to be deliberate about having a shot of me wherever I have gone. When I go back and look at the photos later I know that I really was there -- I didn't just dream it! Often, after I've been someplace really amazing the memory of it feels a little surreal -- like it may not have really happened. It was just a virtual-reality dream or something intangible. But then I look at my photos - of me in the space interacting with the place - and I remember the look and the feel and the smell and the sense of it. Then I know it was real.

So, here's my proof for today....

Me next to the columns in the Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt

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