I had to mail something to the states today, so I went to a post office literally, one street over. When I leave my front door and turn right, I am going to Waitrose to grocery shop, which means I turn right again at the end of the road. I have made this trip several times since I’ve been here. To go to the post office I had to turn left at the end of the road…wait til you hear/see what I discovered!!!
I have seen signs for St. Augustine Abbey as I drive toward the cottage. I asked Drew if he knew anything about it, to which he grunted an answer that I assumed meant no….Well, as I turned the corner to go to the post office, *insert choir singing* there it was! The St. Augustine Abbey!!! It was 4 oclock, luckily it stayed open until 6.
I had no background knowledge of what it was. As I walked through the little museum through the ticket office, I noticed Roman items. Huh…these Romans are everywhere! I don’t know what I was expecting, but I walked into ruins.
There are tombs of the VERY FIRST Archbishops of Canterbury!! The VERY FIRST ONES!!
I am not going to lie, when I walked up to the Anglo-Saxon kings’ tombs, I teared up. I got emotional. It still moves me to think I am walking, seeing, feeling things that people 1500 years ago were. It’s overwhelming. These are things that I talk about in my classes, but it’s not real, you know? I KNOW it’s true, I KNOW the history, but I just talk about it. I’ve never SEEN it, never WITNESSED it. How lucky am I right now? I have seen it and now it is REAL.
I thought of Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias,” did those Kings ever think their kingdoms would lie in ruins? This was once a ornate and BIG abbey.
“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
I also wonder if the people who are here daily give it any thought?