mise en scène
The other day I noticed that the old apartment was empty – the one we had lived in before. It faces west with a view of the city, and has certain conveniences (a trundle bed, a refrigerator that doesn’t block a window) that the current apartment lacks. I emailed the property manager about it, to see if it was available, but it had already been rented. There is nothing positively wrong about the current apartment. We’ve lived there longer than we had lived in the old one. I miss the view, though.
Neither this nor any of the mines we own in Yugoslavia is being worked for the first time. First the Greeks worked them, and then the Romans; then in the Middle Ages the Serbs brought in the Saxons to work them. Then under the Turks the work stopped, stopped dead, for five centuries, until we started it again. And the funny thing is that you can tell each period by its style, without looking at its age. The Greeks had great fancy, they seem to have been wonderful at guessing where the stuff was likely to be and finding the most ingenious way of getting at it. But their construction was only fairish. The Romans don’t seem to have had such good ideas but they were grand on construction. They always made a lovely job of the building. And the Saxons just came along nicely, without adding anything, but following on well. And we’re using a lot of it just as it was. I never go by the stone seat where the Roman sentinel sat, without giving it a pat, and wondering too. For just by that seat there’s a bit of construction that none of us can understand. There’s a long piece of tunnelling, too small for even a child to crawl through, running from one full-sized gallery to another, and no way of getting from one to the other that I can see. We’ve all puzzled our heads over it, and not one of us can work out an explanation. But sometimes that happens, you find workings in old mines that are incomprehensible to the finest engineers.’ It was disconcerting, this emergence of mystery, constant character of human activities, in anything so concrete as mining.
—Rebecca West (Black Lamb & Grey Falcon)
There’s a fire in the fireplace. There are books on the table. It’s misting outside in the true Oregon manner.