Sunday, 30 September 2012

America DOES have a history

Many people in Britain dismiss American history as 'very young' - I've written on this subject before but it can always be repeated...I've just returned from a three week holiday in Southwestern USA, and visited many sites that attest to America's incredible ancient history. The best site by far was Mesa Verde. There were several ruins of ancient pueblos and villages, remarkably preserved because that particular area of Colorado is very dry. Archaeologists think that the ancient peoples built these villages in the 1100's, but abandoned them three hundred years later  (probably due to lack of resources). There is little record of what happened to them, but the Hopi people tell of a legend that many ancient people joined their ancestors hundreds of years ago. Run by the National Park, Native American tribes including the Hopi and the Navajo regard Mesa Verde as a sacred place and many travel there every year to perform rituals or to recount stories of the ancient peoples. When you visit, rangers take you around several sites, including Cliff Palace (above) - once you climb down several hundred feet and ascend a few ladders you can actually walk among these ruins. At first this struck me as slightly damaging to preservation efforts but the rangers explained their preservation programme and they take great care in protecting the ruins from human harm. (Which was a good thing, as I really enjoyed climbing through a tiny tunnel at one point.) The best thing though, was the ranger pointing out 700 year old fingerprints. WOW. Tell that to anyone who thinks American history 'began' in 1776.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

"How could you go ahead of me?" Love letter from the sixteenth century

This is one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever read.

In 1988, a tomb was discovered containing the  remains of a man from South Korea. A letter laid upon his chest was written by his pregnant wife:

"How did you bring your heart to me and how did I bring my heart to you? Whenever we lay down together you always told me, "Dear, do other people cherish and love each other like we do? Are they really like us?" How could you leave all that behind and go ahead of me?"

Read the letter from 'Letters of Note"...

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

"You will play it won't you? I will always be listening"

Everyone should stop what they are doing and read this heartbreaking letter from Milada Horokova, who was arrested by the communist secret police in the Czech Republic on suspicion of attempting to overthrow the regime. The night before she was executed, she wrote a letter to her 16 year old daughter. One of the most inspiring and sad letters I have ever read.