I didn’t know what to expect, except for what I had heard. Vast cities unearthed after centuries of stasis preserving the moment where life bowed down to death. A death of searing heat and suffocating ashes poured forth from the might mountain god Vesuvius.
I had thought I would see more bodies preserved in the moment of futility. A sensationalized warning for all to see in the middle of cobbled and broken streets. It’s funny how the mind works. What I found instead were the many textures of life woven into a timeless tapestry.
In these ancient cities, which began to form in the years before Christ, the endless tale of time is told. The struggle for the basic elements of life are encased within the mortared rock walls of crowded settlements only footsteps removed from vast halls revealing pillared windows to outer glories of wealth.
The themes of life remain unaltered; the patterns only woven with different threads.
It is nothing short of exhausting to walk the ruined roads of Pompeii. It’s a feat impossible to do in its entirety in one day. After awhile the step feels monotonous and insignificant, despite the many who tread with you. There is a feeling of isolation. Voids that will never be filled. Wonders only partially discovered and mysteries that will never be fully unveiled.
The five of us walked without a map or guide, yet it I was not surprised to find our path leading us to the Villa of Mysteries. Here the the gods overlap through time, and Roman influence is layered with Greek and Egyptian. Although I took just a few photos, many more can be found online. Instead, I found myself wrapped in the arms of the familiar for the short time we explored the villa, which sits quite removed from the central city of Pompeii. It is where I would have lingered, had I been alone. Instead, hunger called to all of us and we sought out a late lunch before we continued on.