There is a moment when one is engulfed by the beauty of life and it is breathtaking. History is life’s succession through time and life is remembered for its beauty, yet only the most hideous characteristics of life make it so beautiful. One can only truly understand the beauty of life when experiencing its history. As history pulses through Europe’s veins, the magnificence of life is lavished upon her every crevice. To have had the opportunity to travel to such a continent is nearly indescribable.
I walked alongside the Roman Colosseum and stood before it tilting my head so that I could see all the way up its stone wall. As I stepped forward I extended my hand to let my fingers flutter across the monstrous stones. The guide’s words reached my ears and suddenly a chill tickled my spine. I no longer stood before the ruins of the 21st century, but roughly 2,000 years prior amidst the Colosseum’s grandeur. The indigo abyss encircled our heads and contrasted greatly with the marble walls that sparkled in the radiance of the sun. The roar of the crowd pierced the air and penetrated every fiber of my being. I looked out across the arena; tens of thousands of people filled the Colosseum all cheering for the games to begin. A single individual appeared below and the crowd shouted with excitement thrusting their thumbs high into the air. I watched as he stood alone looking up into the crowd. He crumbled to the ground sobbing when he saw their response knowing that the lions would be brought up from beneath for him. His eyes met the beasts’ and he knew he had reached his doom. but his horrific screams were drowned out by the cheering crowd. The beasts lay down on the blood stained floor waiting for their next victim. I pulled my hand off the wall of the Colosseum and the roar of the crowd faded. The radiance of the walls dimmed and once again I stood in front of the ruins. Never had history been so alive to me. Neither a book, nor a picture could begin to explain what stood before my very eyes.
The rocks shifted under my feet as we entered the ancient grounds of Olympia. Every boulder dated back centuries, but with each step, I went farther and farther back into time. I stood where the Olympians had stood and I glanced up just in time to see the contestants begin to race. They flung their bare bodies forward thrusting their heads out and digging their heels into the soil. The olive oil that coated their dirt stained bodies made them glisten beneath the intense sun. I watched as each runner faded into the distance as they darted down the track. The crowd howled in excitement as one individual pulled to the front and leapt across the finish line. Silence crept upon me and soon I was back in the ruins of the 21st century listening to the drone of the guide’s voice.
Life’s beauty crept upon me slowly but intensely with every mile that I covered. As I walked alongside the Tiber River I felt the essence of its power surge through me. The evolution of man’s advancements became vivid within the Palace of Knossos. A gasp escaped my lips with the sheer size of the Acropolis. With each historical site that I visited life’s beauty became more and more evident. Only a trip like this could create such an appreciation in me. And only now do I see life’s exquisite beauty through history.
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