The best way to convey the mythical is to show, not tell. I took this picture in Rome at Gallaria Borghese. Let the image speak for itself and soak in the wonders Gian Lorenzo Bernini wants you to, even hundreds of years after the sculpture, and thousands after the story behind it was told. Everyone– Apollo and Daphne.
“Not one drop of blood is left
inside my veins that does not throb;
I recognize the signs of the ancient flame.”
- Virgil, The Aeneid; Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio, La Divina Comedia
The ancient flames– the feelings of longing for human, physical contact which pulses within our blood. The line was used by these two great poets for characters to passionately engage the reader in seeing the abstract feeling of love within their hearts for themselves; Aeneas for Dido, Beatrice for Dante. The flames are a common feeling within us all, provocable at any given place or time. Such causes for the release of emotions include by are not limited to memories, a song, smell, object, etc. which brings on said memories, seeing the person behind the flames, a new person who incites the feelings and a private nostalgia and longing for the past.
When I took my Dante class in sophomore year of college, I found myself most associate with this line. Though a year and a half already passed, I was still coping to make peace with everything that I went through with my old boyfriend, and I saw him walking while driving with my friend one day. He didn’t see me, but I saw him, and it affected me deeply. Although we were going to eat nearby anyway, I had to pull into the spot and cry because the very sight of him affected me so much. Until that very moment, I possessed no firsthand knowledge of that phrase come to life that I could recognize. Until then I never realized the true power of the ancient flames.
Therefore, whenever I read, hear, or recite the line, the words take on a literal meaning for me. There are other memories which thus have been achieved– seeing the exact kitchenware my grandparents had in an antiques store in New Paltz, the magical feeling of returning to il Colosseo in Rome and the island of Capri, the wondrous feeling I received when test driving my new car (as mad as that sounds, but I felt it, nothing beats a new car feeling), etc. Once we conquer the flame for eros, we can use it for filia and agape. This lesson in love one must learn well. Goodnight 🙂
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
- Eleanor Roosevelt