Bury Your Dead

I feel I’ve been neglecting the site lately, but I haven’t really done much worth writing about. The last two days I’ve been inside working on a new project. For those of you wondering how I afford this trip, well that’s how, I stop doing fun things, lock the door and write or develop websites as the case maybe.

In this case I’ve had to do both in the last two days. So not too much interesting stuff to tell. Yesterday I took a break in the afternoon and we went to see the catacombs. There are some pictures up in the photo section. I would like to say that the catacombs had some spectacular effect on me seeing that I strolled through human remains, skulls and femurs mainly, “decoratively arranged,” but the truth is, after you get over the initial shock of seeing a skull, well, it turns out you can get adjusted to just about anything. It was sort of initially horrifying to think that all these bones had been dug up out of their graves and brought here, intermingled, “decoratively arranged” and more or less became indistinguishably melded together into one singular body that stretches in and around an old underground rock quarry.

But then about half way through I started thinking about a passage in Dr. Lilly’s The Center of the Cyclone where he talks about his experiments in sensory deprivation chambers, in particular he mentions one experience where, having lost track of any sort of notion of bodily form he reaches a point where all the universe becomes visible as pulses and orbs of electricity, a current he can feel moving through him to the point that he becomes uncertain where he ends and the universe begins and vice versa, and in that light the bones in the catacombs seemed to me an appropriate representation of death, a loss of individuality, a rejoining of some universal body so massive as contain everything and everyone. Besides which, at the rate were going many of us might end up in a big pile of bones ourselves. A word of caution to others, if you’re at all claustrophobic don’t go down in the catacombs, claustrophobia coupled with human remains every which way you turn is not the recipe for happiness.

After the contemplation of death it seemed appropriate to spend the next day in a park or garden of some kind and being a Sunday there wasn’t a whole lot else to do. We walked down to little square/park and sat in the last rays of sunshine eating salami and butter sandwiches and reading.

Later in the evening we took a train and bottle of Belgium beer over to Sacre Coure and sat on the steps admiring the panorama of Paris. All in all I had a wonderful time and look forward to returning next spring via the trans Siberian Railway (if all goes according to plan anyway). But now it’s time to pack the bags and get ready for India…


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