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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Baelo Claudia: Roman Ruins and the "Now"


Baelo Claudia (Bolonia, Tarifa, Cadiz, Spain) Foto Credit

Baelo Claudia, founded approximately 200 B.C.E. on the shores of the modern Costa del Sol in southern Spain, was a bustling and thriving Roman city situated slightly east of Cadiz (the over 3,000 year-old metropolis once called Gadir, initially founded by the Phoenicians, which later became Roman), and somewhat west of Malaga (you know, the place Antonio Banderas is from...).

This once rather important city, a maritime connection to Tangiers, and centered about the fish salting industry, was even given the rank of Roman municipality by the Emperor Claudius during his reign from 41-54 C.E.

It's quite close to where I live, and during a recent visit there, I could not but reflect on the fact that we must truly learn to treasure the now as Eckhart Tolle encourages us to do in his books and tapes. This city, that impresses even now with its majestic ruins of temples, an amphitheater with eight entrances, a forum with a magnificent statue of Trajan, a broadly paved main avenue that traverses the city with stores lining one side, the imperious city walls, and the basilica, is nevertheless, a city that disappeared.

All those lives, all those hopes and aspirations...all gone. Part of the decline of the city occurred some two centuries A.D. due to an important earthquake. Lives began to shift, changes happened, decisions were made, some people died, and the city was no longer the same.

Isn't this the way it is with us? Here we are, over 2,000 years later (and if I had chosen to look elsewhere, at older ruins, I might be writing 10,000 years instead of 2,000), and while much has changed, some fundamental things have not. We are born, we die, and we have the in between part. What we do with ourselves during that part is what it's really all about, isn't it? And that's a lot more important than how many gorgeous cars are sitting in front of the house.

Those Romans that lived in Baelo Claudia so long ago...what were they able to take with them when they died, and when the city died? Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Except that which had become a part of them. And I guess here we come back to my post about feng shui, ficus trees, and the bees. Back to the eternal validity of the soul. Back to why it is so important that we take great care of what we do with our "now". Tend your garden well...

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