Bee in my bonnet

There are doors which open in our lives and invite us to explore other rooms. We may discover their beauties, commonness or unpleasantness but they all leave some experience we should learn of. But of course, we all hope for the beauties…

A few weeks ago I was invited to write a guest post for a “Vision and Verb” blog. I didn’t know the blog so I was browsing it for a while, reading some of its posts and looking for connections. I found motivation, inspiration, imagination and a wonderful group of cooperators and their guests. I agreed and wrote my guest post and started to participate in commenting. It’s been a wonderful training for both my English and my thinking. You know, sometimes there is a post I don’t find addressing me personally. Then I just look at its picture a few more times, let stay its words in my mind for a while and there is always something coming out and enriching me. I can share it in my comments and this way bring some “value” to the whole. So, when I was invited next to become a cooperator of the blog, I felt honoured and accepted.

May I invite you now to read my first post for the Vision and Verb blog titled “Bee in my bonnet”? It’s about history as well as about the building in the photo.

A few days ago I read Puna’s question at the end of her post “Built to last” asking what is our favourite piece of building art. I asked myself whether there is any particular building I’d consider favourite whether a piece of art or not and I had an immediate answer in front of my mind’s eye as coincidentally I’ve been pondering over such a building for quite a long time. It is a building of no world fame and no doubt you’ve never heard of it. But I was passing by it many times, entering its inside a few times and it grew on me in an unexpected way. I’m not sure of the reason why but I guess I could trace what has influenced me most.

You can see the building I’m speaking about in the photo. It is the West Bohemian Museum located in the city Plzeň (Czech Republic) where I was born and lived many years. In my eyes it’s a beautiful building in the centre of the city and also a centre of activities connected with culture, architecture, biology, ethnography, history and many more. You can imagine the variety of exhibitions and lectures one can attend there.

In February my family visited an interactive exhibition there named “Excursion into the Middle Ages”. I felt impressed, not entirely by the exhibition itself, which was interesting but quite simple, but by the connections I came to realise there. We could try writing with a quill (how patient you need to be to use it), touch period dresses (how heavy they were and what odd cloth they were sewn from), make metal coins (which used to be coined from pure silver and gold). We had a close look at a few medieval instruments of torture and I can tell you that it was an awful experience to be put in the pillory and chained there with my hands above my head. Although dressed I felt naked and watched and judged by everyone who could see me. It felt real.

There was also a task to match historical events with their proper dates on a time line. Events connected with the history of the Czech Republic, so also with my own history, such as when the Charles University in Prague was established. Although I was undoubtedly taught all those dates at school, I have to admit frankly that I failed in that task and left it uncompleted. I felt ashamed. I didn’t use to like the subject of history but the older I am, the more I see that history is represented not only by dates but especially by connections and relations between events and their more or less visible consequences.

The history teaches me that on the one hand we are unique individuals pursuing our life paths, on the other hand we are parts of something much bigger than our individuality. We have roots we should know about as they influence so deeply who we are. We have so much to be grateful for and knowing history helps to understand that.

People have had the same basic needs throughout the ages. But you all know that, don’t you, it’s just that the simple exhibition put a bee in my bonnet and I still see that remarkable building of the museum in front of my mind’s eye, the building representing so many connections…


UPDATE: The Vision and Verb blog was shut down in July 2014, you can find all my posts written for that blog here under the label Vision & Verb.