"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Time Lady in Paris

Temple's T.A.R.D.I.S.

"Would you like a jelly baby?" - Doctor Who, 1963-present

I'm still in the 5th century, but now I'm at the mouth of China's Yellow River, exploring the Silk Road's Gangsu Corridor. There's a very handsome horse trader who has promised to teach me how to ride a horse. Tomorrow I'm going to mid-19th century Paris to a small art studio on boulevard des Capucines - the first Impressionist exhibition. I've always wanted to go. Then back to the 5th century - I'm going to India to hang out with the Guptas. I'll end my week in 8th century Greece, learning about the cultivation of olives and grapes - all for the Cultural Heritage Seminar I'm teaching.

As I was thumbing through the books from my treasured history-library, scribbling notes, while simultaneously searching the 'nets, it suddenly dawned on me that being a historian is very similar to being a time travelling Time Lord or, in my case, Time Lady (for my brief explanation of just what the heck I'm talking about, see here - 3rd paragraph). Okay, now where was I? I'm an absent minded professor too ;-) Where was I? Oh yes...

All of time and space -
there for a Time Lady's taking!

Being a historian/history professor is very similar to being a time traveller (except I don't get to go into the future, just predict it - darn it!) But I do get to 'travel' to, explore, and have adventures in the past and present. I get to hang out with presidents, emperors, prime ministers and nobles; peasants, warriors, holy men and women; writers, artists, revolutionaries, politicians, scientists, prostitutes and nuns. I get to wade into wars and leave unscathed, ride the plains with the Commanches, ferry slaves along the Underground Railroad, sit in a Paris salon with the Philosophes and hang out with the 'Heavenly Horse' traders along the Silk Roads.

For me, every book I read: every memoir and holy book, every constitution and historical anthology, every biography and autobiography is figuratively and literallyT.A.R.D.I.S. - a mental-conceptual-imaginative vehicle to history. And that's a heady awesome thing...

My travels, through time and space, and my desire to blog about them, has inspired a new section here at Pour l'Amour: 'the further adventures of a Time Lady' (yeah, it's a bit wordy, but it fits oui?)

See related post: Confucius

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!


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