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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Visit a Historic Site

One of the greatest motivations in my life (and, I believe, with most human beings) is the drive to feel connected.

In most cases, that means connection to the people around me, to nature, even to something "other."

But sometimes, in addition to that sense of connectedness across space, I also feel the need to be connected through depths of time. This could mean seeing old friends (as I'm doing during a return visit to my hometown this week).

But the need for "historical" connection can also be filled by getting in touch with actual history, wherever you are.

For me, that usually means visiting a temple, pagoda, fort, tomb, ancient village, or ancestral hall near my home in South China.

But when I lived in California, it was the missions and old adobes; in New Mexico, the pueblos and churches; in Japan, the temples, shrines, and castles.

When I travel, I'd rather go to historical sites than to resorts, bars, beaches, casinos, or markets.

During my "healing years" (after my divorce), if I wasn't in the Southwest, I was reading about it. The combination of breadth (those "wide open spaces" and the big sky) and depth (ancient sites, ancient cultures) in America's "Four Corners" region brought me out of a bad time.

To be honest, I don't so much love reading about history. I'd rather learn it from a brochure acquired on-site than from a dusty book in a musty library.

So if you haven't already, check out the historical sites in your area. Better yet, join a historical society and help keep history alive.

You'll be happier.

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