When in Rome…

….write!   I have been spending the day wandering about the Colosseum, then I decided to meander aimlessly in the direction of Nerva’s Forum.   One of the new developments since I was here last year is this addition of a set of bleachers, much like one would find at a high school football game in Texas. So I sat down, looked around and realized, write about it.   It is, after all, what I do now for a living. And considering the subject of which I write, what better place to do it than here?   One of the things that strike me about Rome is the juxtaposition of the very ancient and the new, as the inhabitants of the Eternal City try to get on with the business of living while also trying, with varying degrees of success, to tolerate we interlopers who wander about all agog with sensory overload.   I am an inveterate observer; I have been watching others and their behavior since my earliest memories, so I suppose it makes sense that when I joined the Marines, I ended up basically watching people. Then, sometimes, I’d shoot them. But mostly I watched. I suppose that has something to do with my ability as a writer, such as it is.

And as I wander through the Forum, or in the Colosseum, and I watch the gaggles of tourists shuttling about from one spot to the next, busily snapping their pictures, most of them seeming to be selfies now, I do wonder how many of them actually KNOW anything about what they are seeing.   More specifically, how many of the people who come to Rome, particularly from Western nations, really comprehend how all that we are can be traced back directly and indirectly to this one place? That, regardless of our nationalities, or even our races, we all share this one touchstone of a common past, in one way or another?   I will be the first to confess that, as steeped in the history as I may be, I have trouble keeping that in mind. But that’s why I find it important to return here, for both professional and personal reasons.   In fact, I think it can be argued with some success that I owe everything I have become to Rome. It is the reason I am here, both in the micro and macro sense.   It’s good, at least for me, to remember that.

Forum of Augustus

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