Friday, April 13, 2012

À la recherche du locus amoenus perdu.

A picture of my great-grandmother unearthed and posted by an aunt today to commemorate her birthday sent me on a quest to find the photos of my great-grandmother that I thought would be of some delight to the extended family. That sent me on a trip down memory lane a bit...even found this (I almost didn't recognize who it was!):

Then, I found a picture that I took in Corcieux that instantly made me think of the mythical picture of my fantastic locus amoenus, which I think I took farther up the line from the photo I found. Those of you who at some point in your life were steeped in Curtius' European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages know: that idealized place of safety and comfort that you brush up against which forever changes you, and which you may or may not get to visit ever again. Now, this is the classic type of which I speak: trees, grass, and water. As happenstance would have it I brushed up against it once, took a priceless photo, and that is the only souvenir I have of it...I have not returned, and given that I was caught up in the moment when it was unfolding, I will likely never be able to rediscover it. It may very well be lost to me forever. 

Of course, I believe that we all have a few loci amoeni...they may come in the form of loved ones, cherished memories from childhood as pedestrian as central air or a fireplace in the early hours of a winter morning that we can simulate as needed to take us — we all have our madeleines...even Axl Rose and Sheryl Crow.

But it's always the one that eludes you that fascinates you the most. AND...I now can't seem to even find the picture! So, expect to see musings about some of the pictures I find along my odyssey to find THAT picture.