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4/02/2008

She bore a land

At the south end of Westminster Bridge in London, England, stands a statue raised in honor of a woman from the dim mists of Britain's past. It is only through the memory of her enemy that we know of her, at all. The Romans wrote things down. They kept accurate accounts of the things they did; enemies they encountered, battles they won, battles they lost. And they wrote about Boudicea. They told the story of their own treachery and the terrible things they did to this woman and her daughters. They recounted the battles they lost to her; the cities she burned, the garrisons she routed. But in the end, the histories are written by the victors. And so it is that she lost the war, ultimately. And though the Romans tell us she was tall, and striking in appearance, they also tell us she took poison to avoid being captured. Knowing what awaited her at the hands of the Romans, there are few who would blame her for taking her own life. In the end, she died as she lived; in charge, in control, in command.

The statue, shown below, is black and cold and does not impress as much as the expectation. It sits amid trees and street lamps and crowds and traffic. One cannot stand at a distance and take it all in. Quarters are too tight. The bridge road is too close. Across the road, fences limit your movement. The House of Commons is there - the fences protect. So you see this as you approach:




And this you see as you stand at the base of her statue, looking up:



But walk around behind her, and down the walkway along the Thames. Then turn around and look back to see this:



This is what the sculptor had in his mind when he created this statue. That building is the House of Commons. The seat of power in this the Land of Boudicea. She is the Mage, conjuring the future, calling forth the courage and spirit of these people to build tall structures for freedom and liberty and to make them of lasting, immutable stone. Here I saw her power and her majesty and I knew why I had to see her. I needed to know that she has been properly remembered. And she has.

12 comments:

Sandy C. said...

Lou, I'm so glad you posted this so soon after your trip. Ever since your mention of Boudicea in recent weeks, I've been curious to see photos :)
I love the story you shared of how you approached the statue
and how the images unfolded just as you saw her. Incredibly moving, especially that last photo.

Elizabeth said...

Very impressive!

Casdok said...

A very fitting place.

LceeL said...

Sandy: Thanks. I was a bit disappointed until I took that last shot. Then I understood.

Elizabeth: Thank you.

Casdok: As it turns out, it is. I thought about you while I was in London. But I had NO time. Tour was VERY busy.

warriorwoman said...

I loved wandering around London while I was there. I was in front of a great church (can't remember which), it was November and I was starting to get cold. I bought a hot chocolate from a street vender, sat on a park bench, sipped and smoked a ciggie and watched all the people pass by. Loved London.

secret agent mama said...

Stunning. Absolutely remarkable!

storyteller said...

Wow – looks like a wonderful trip. Sorry you got sick and hope you’re feeling better soon. Visiting historical places is awesome is it not? Welcome back and thanks for sharing these great photos! My one and only visit to London was in the summer of 1967, but I’d love to return.
Hugs and blessings,

LceeL said...

Warriorwoman: London when it's cold is a whole 'nuther place.

Mishi: Thank you.

Storyteller: I plan to go back again - I'd like to go and take things at a slightly slower pace - take my time, so to speak.

Julie said...

Great photos and storytelling, Lou.

Maddy said...

I feel 'almost' homesick.

By the by, it would appear that 10 year olds do date!
Cheers

frog ponds rock... said...

Thank you Lou..

Nicole said...

Breathtakingly awesome - thank you!