I’m not one for American History. It just doesn’t do alot for me. But visiting Boone Hall we saw the slave houses still standing. It felt weird to be inside them. It made “what was” feel more like just a few days ago. Like all the oppression of history was just pushing on our shoulders reminding us where we’ve been and how much further we will always have to go. It’s a wonder the houses haven’t crumbled or caved in like so many other historical “treasures”. Maybe they never will, maybe they will always be there. Silently reminding us that some evils should never be forgotten.
It reminds me that despite all the romance we paint about how our country was founded life back then was much more raw and fleeting. It’s all of history that makes me feel this.
I feel like we’ve forgotten something important.
To quote Coleridge on Wordsworth:
Mr. Wordsworth, on the other hand, was to propose to himself as his object, to give the charm of novelty to things of every day, and to excite a feeling analogous to the supernatural, by awakening the mind’s attention from the lethargy of custom, and directing it to the loveliness and the wonders of the world before us; an inexhaustible treasure, but for which, in consequence of the film of familiarity and selfish solicitude we have eyes, yet see not, ears that hear not, and hearts that neither feel nor understand.”
He was talking about literature of course and a reader’s willing suspension of disbelief, but I think we’ve willing removed ourselves from history in much the same way. Now we have eyes, yet see not, ears that hear not, and hearts that neither feel nor understand.