I've been lucky enough to have some very intimate experiences in my travels around the world. Stolen moments alone with works of art I've only seen before in print. I used to stare intently at these images for hours and sometimes even fall asleep at night to their brilliance. But nothing compares to seeing them in person, eye to eye with those brush strokes, curves of marble or glints of gold.
Whenever I feel lost or stressed, I close my eyes and think of those little scared spaces that seemed, in that moment, to be made just for me. They hold me close in their silence. It's in their warm soothing colours, their careful and quiet whispering sculptures, their peering eyes which comfort, their stone vaults that never faulter, that I feel at home, at rest, in a soft silent peace.
I'll hold close to my heart, the memory of being inside these places. The echoing noise of my feet on the ancient floors of castles and churches, where hundreds of years before, people just like me stood - their eyes filled with the same awe as mine were. The haunting and beautiful sound of a singer practicing her aria in the empty corners of a sweeping and soaring church. Her voice flying through the air like the angels painted along the ceiling.
But memories that are really special aren't just the famous sights, or notable paintings. It's in the details. The small things. The texture of the floor, the uneven stones you can feel under your toes. It's in the tapestries hanging on the walls that are so precious they can only be hung for two weeks a year and we were they to see them. It's the delicate folds of her dress, carved like silk in stone. A caress in cold marble that warms your very heart...
I hope I can keep these memories alive within me forever, but to keep them as alive as possible, I will tell those stories over and over - until they come as attached to me as the skin that encases me. My protective shell, keeping me whole.