The very last thing that I did when I was in Rome and on my way to the docks where I would begin my Mediterranean Cruise in 2007, was to ask the driver to take me back to the place where I had seen an obelisk sitting on a sculpture of an elephant. I then took some pictures, and that was my last moment in one of the most wonderful cities in the world.
I would live in Rome, with its ancient ruins and magnificent histories that have stories of wonder and horror, and of the early roots of democracy that would eventually be the story of my own country.
But, for now, I only dream of a life in those ancient streets and remember the exquisite nature of such thick and descriptive architecture that stories almost write themselves.
It was that obelisk that had me obsessed, however, so I was mortified to read that in 2016 one of the tusks had been broken by vandals.
I don’t quite understand how people can do damage to things that are so rare and so ancient.
Who thinks to take pot shots at the Sphinx? Who purposely bombs a museum with ancient antiquities that will never again be available to tell the stories of their civilizations? Who steals art so that it is gone from the public, and never seen again?
Well, I guess humans do those things.
Still, I have to wonder who would damage a sculpture that was over 300 years old, which stood holding an obelisk that was from Egypt, and was far more ancient and precious.
And to top it off, as far as I was concerned, my heart had adopted that obelisk and sculpture as one of the most wonderful memories that I have of my trip to Rome.
As human beings we strive to capture the essence of our lives at moments in which a convergence of circumstances end with something beautiful that can be left to the future.
That is the presence that the elephant held for me.
When I am old and grey (as in, no longer able to dye my hair to cover my grey), I will have the memory of that beautiful monument, even if other humans chip away at it where it stands.