Echoing the Past: The Spirit of Place – Lets Go Retro!

Over at Blue Butterflies and Me, Sindy is hosting the Lets Go Retro Challenge Challenge, in honour of Mercury being in retrograde.  The challenge is to reblog / review / revisit blog posts of the past…

retro challenge

The original post I decided to use was a piece of very short fiction (in 50 words or less, in fact), entitled, Echoes of the Past

Footsteps echo on the ancient ground.  Snippets of conversation carried on the wind of time.  Shouting.  Screaming.  Laughter.  Crying.

Experience imprinted on the landscape.  Memories forever carved in stone.  Life and death remembered.

Stories waiting to be told…truths waiting to be heard…

The past is never silent.

woodsLooking back on this piece, I recall how I’ve always been aware of, and for that matter, been inspired by, the spirit of place.  The idea that everywhere you go, the past and the present mingle (to different degrees), to create what you now see and experience there.  That each and every environment you place yourself in is unique, forged by others who have come before, or who are there now.

It might be a romantic view but I believe it is interesting to think that wherever we go, whatever we do, we make our mark on that place.  Of wellcourse, this is in no small part helped by my over-active imagination.  I love to spend my free time exploring castles and abbeys and churches, both ruined and intact, and wonder in whose steps am I walking?  What was their life like?  What is their story?  Another love is visiting sites much older than these…sacred wells, Roman ruins, stone circles…These places are an invaluable source of inspiration for writers.

Some places evoke feelings of peace and tranquillity.  As I write, I am reminded of an ancient sacred well that I regularly visit.  The place radiates harmony, and in the stillness you can imagine others who have passed this way throughout the centuries.  Were they on a pilgrimage?  Were they hoping for a cure to a particular ailment they were suffering from?  Were they simply asking for a blessing of health, wealth and happiness?

church ruinsAt the other end of the scale, I have felt serious discomfort whilst exploring the dungeon of a twelfth century castle, and couldn’t wait to leave it.  The stories of those who found themselves imprisoned within, would not have been happy ones.  But how did they find themselves there?  Had they really done anything wrong?  Or did it have something to do with the Medieval merry-go-round of politics and power?

As a writer, but also for myself personally, the spirit of place is important.  To a certain extent, it doesn’t matter what the place makes me feel or think, as long as it makes me feel something.  And for as long as it does, it will help to feed my imagination and creativity.