I studied art history in high school and college, learning from incredible teachers and professors. I went to museums and saw visiting collections, but I never stood in the middle of St. Peter’s square or under the arches of a gothic cathedral until 2006 when I stood in La Seu, visited Pompeii, and walked into the middle of the Piazza San Pietro, marveling at the history that surrounded me. Yet something about Bolton Abbey, the skeleton of which I captured in this photograph, struck me more than even walking through the ancient streets of Pompeii. Perhaps because I was older, I had a new appreciation for the feats of architecture. Perhaps, too, it was because I was alone with my camera and my thoughts, not being bustled about by tour guides or other eager tourists. Whatever the difference, Bolton Abbey was more majestic to me than even St. Peter’s. It is a memory, a remnant of time gone by, of the monarchy, of the Reformation, and of the shifting sands of faith. While other abbeys were deconstructed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and all that remains of them is rubble, Bolton Abbey remains – like a fossil, its bones bared and resolute. When I stood in the nave, I placed my hand on a monolithic column, lingering for a moment and hoping to physically connect to the priory. With the weathered stone pressed against my hand, I wondered how many generations had set their hands upon the stonework, and at that moment I felt truly connected to a continuum of time – those who had come before and those who would come after to admire the remnant as I had.
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