Yesterday, upon reading about memorials and monuments to the Titanic, I got the same feeling I do when walking through the older sections of a graveyard. Marble statues of angels, tombstones covered with moss or lichens, the inscriptions wearing away until they are almost unreadable. You get the impression of other times, of spats on men, horse-drawn buggies, large Victorian hats on women, wrought iron gates, the Gilded Age. Bones and sepulchers. Dead people.
It's only by reading accounts, well-written by those who lived though those times, that the imagined odors of must and dust and decay disappear. Flesh and blood men and women arise in their place in the mind, the dead past takes on the vibrant immediacy of a heart beat.
Reading great books about events like the Titanic, one can feel the engine vibrations beneath his feet, the smell of the smokestacks, the sway of the decks, the chill wind of the Atlantic, the pleasant smell of salt air, the screech of seagulls.
Not to mention the taste of corn from this corny description. But you get the idea.
Off to work. I have to get through today and tomorrow and this tax season will be history too. One that I don't want to come back to life, rhetorically or otherwise.