This portal to the Japanese Gardens at Maymont Estate had me thinking about a novel that I'd read quite a long time ago. Early in my educational journey I was given a reading assignment: "Lost Horizon" by James Hilton. I also watched the old Capra movie and experienced the mood a little bit more intensely in the movie, probably because at that age I had no concept of how Tibet might look...my imagination had some gaps that impaired my visualization of scenes in the book. (In truth, I still have many imagination gaps and Tibet is still one.) What sticks with me about the book's story is that Shangri-La was a physical representation of a state of mind, a place where we would all like to be or at least visit. I don't remember much about the actual place in the book, most of the snippets of memory I have are about going to or leaving Shangri-La, the old "grass is always greener" story.
Or maybe the theme of the book (and life) is the "silver bullet," if I can just get through that door then everything will change for the better. Graduation. Employment. Mortgage. A move. Marriage. Children. Sickness. Health. Retirement. Safety. But then I remember, life isn't really about getting some particular place, life is about the steps you take to get there and the vision to see where you are as you're going. Another Rabbit Hole and I still haven't seen Alice.
I remember twenty years ago today. The terror and tragedy. We came together as a nation, not for long, but for a while. We do that, we come together, and then we forget. Events and economy overtake our memories...some people actually call the Holocaust fake news, the social and economic and life impact of Vietnam is only remembered by people my age, we were so used to the war in Afghanistan that we barely noticed it in the news. And more. No Shangri-La.