I’ll make this part quick. I’m here. The blogging life can be like a new relationship. In the beginning, you love your blog, you need your blog, you must be with your blog. The ideas keep coming and coming. Inspiration is everywhere.
The newness goes on for months, or a year or even more. But then, life creeps up. The responsibilities have piled up. So you miss a date or two to do catch up on life, and the honeymoon’s over. And then you miss more and more. And then you don’t know how you will ever get started again. Writing feels rusty and forced. Then you want to say something about your absence, but the words won’t come, because you’ve gone and got yourself out of practice.
Anyway. I’m here. I’ve missed you guys. I hope you’ll still come around.
Now, the thing I’ve really been wanting to talk about is World War I. I heard this war mentioned in the news recently because this is the time, 100 years ago, that the first shots of the war were fired. It wasn’t always called World War I – it didn’t wear that moniker until sometime after World War II. Until that time, it was simply called The Great War. You know, big. Really big, with over 15 million fatalities worldwide over the course of four years. Of those, 117,000 were US soldiers, double the amount of US soldiers killed in our 20-year conflict in Vietnam.
Sorry, I don’t mean to get mired in really depressing statistics, it’s just that they boggle my mind. What I was trying to get to, was a passage in a book called The Guns of August. Written by Barbara Tuchman and published in 1962, this entire book chronicles the month that led up to the outbreak of WWI.
And after hearing its mention in the news recently, I pulled out my copy which I had begun to read ten years ago, and then put aside because I was distracted by a class I was taking, and never got back to again. And I re-read the first paragraph, and remembered all that I love about words.
This passage paints the picture of the pre-War era, slowly drawing to a close with the funeral of England’s Edward VII.
Look, just look at this writing.
“So gorgeous was the spectacle on the May morning of 1910 when nine kings rode in the funeral of Edward VII of England that the crowd, waiting in hushed and black-clad awe, could not keep back gasps of admiration. In scarlet and green and blue and purple, three by three the sovereigns rode through the palace gates, with plumed helmets, gold braid, crimson sashes, and jeweled orders flashing in the sun. After them came five heirs apparent, forty more imperial or royal highnesses, seven queens – four dowager and three regnant – and a scattering of special ambassadors from uncrowned countries. Together they represented seventy nations in the greatest assemblage of royalty and rank ever gathered in one place and, of its kind, the last. The muffled tongue of Big Ben tolled nine by the clock as the cortege left the palace, but on history’s clock it was sunset, and the sun of the old world was setting in a dying blaze of splendor never to be seen again.”
Such a thing of beauty. I just had to share.