There are individual places of power, places when you just feel right, places that recharge you.
I know most of you are going to say something about majestic redwood forests or some such, but well… different strokes for different folks.
After deciding at 8 that when I grew up I was going to live in Denver and be a writer (and keep in mind that my geography was so great at the time that I actually thought Denver was by the sea. I might have had it confused with Dover…) I found that there are places in Denver that are “places of power” for me.
Perhaps they were invested with extra power by being visited when we had a “vacation” with the kids, when they were little, but there’s very few times when I’m depressed and dragging that can’t be made way better by taking me to walk around the lake in city park, or to the natural history museum, or to Pete’s. Perhaps Pete’s most of all. It’s not unheard of for us, in the middle of an otherwise normal evening, to go to Pete’s for coffee.
As for power… well, going there restores my mood and I feel better, more able to cope.
Most individual places of power are like that, but not all. I don’t have any bad feelings/memories associated with any particular place, but I know people who do. Returning to one of those places might be traumatic for people.
In the same way civilizations have places of power, good and bad. I once had dinner where the founding fathers discussed revolution, and it had a feeling of energy and excitement.
In the same way I have heard people describe sites of great disasters or worse of evil events, like the death camps, or the pyramids of Mexico, as places where even the birds won’t sing, and things feel odd and hushed and depressing. The same has been described of battle sites of WWI, for instance.
How much of that is because we know what happened there? How much because there is something that attaches to a place where mass death occurred in quantities?
Whether you believe that there have been other civilizations we don’t even remember, in the potentially 250k years we’ve been human (again, these would have to be either bronze age level or so much more advanced than ours that they returned the Earth to pristine condition when they left, and only some troglodytes, our ancestors, stayed behind. Either is POSSIBLE, but I’d bet on a lot of the first kind) the truth is even in the history and pre-history we do know, there are tons of such places that have potentially been forgotten. Some we’ll have forgotten the location, (no one quite knows where the battle Cannae took place, for instance) and some that it even occurred. One of the things humans have always been good at is batch lot slaughter and genocide, often for what the people doing it believe are laudable reasons.
Would those places also feel hushed, strange, weird?
The fact is that there are some places in which most people experience a feeling of oppression and even some of the other strange things “being avoided by birds and animals” and magnetic issues, for no reason at all that we can figure out. And most people just sort of avoid it.
I don’t know exactly where I’m going with this — Havey is now sick, and we spent a disturbed night, other than having to clean bathroom and carpet when I woke up because Euclid-cat has old age incontinence — except that if you find a place in a highly populated area and no one has built on it for centuries, don’t. You might not feel the unease until you’re living in it full time. (Aka my parents’ house. And judging from things we’ve unearthed while setting in gardens, etc, probably ancient battle site, Romans vs Celts.)
It fascinates me: the idea that places where great evil occurred have been forgotten, and yet something lingers to tingle the back of our conscious.
The same way of our being gone for so long and our civilization so thoroughly obliterated that what we sense as unclean places are forgotten disturbs me in a way I can’t even explain.
Perhaps it is the fate of humanity to again and again build civilization, which gets forgotten along with all its sins and glories… only to tickle the unquiet the dreams and the restless senses of those of their descendants who don’t even have any idea of their existence.