(Photograph of Dresden. Taken in April 2017.)
This morning I swiped through thousands of my own photographs taken on various research trips through Europe. Not sure why, really.
Dresden, in Germany, is a city I visited for a few hours last year, on a day trip from Prague.
There is a hush in Dresden that sounds like 25,000 last-gasps for breath. That’s the estimated number of civilians killed by Allied bombing raids in 1945.
Here’s the truth: I’ve been considering stepping away from my years of work with WW2. Walking in another direction to something less heavy, more palatable.
Looking through my largely-untouched photos made me feel a massive rush of emotion I can’t put into words. I bawled like a baby. Memories of personal encounters with geography, history and humanity / inhumanity took me from the outside in. So many stories I have yet to tell ... and even more than that waiting for my discovery.
History has chosen me. There is an intensity where geography and human memory intersect with history, and they sing through me.
Heels dug in. Tenacity on full tilt. In it to win it.
I’m not going anywhere ... anywhere but here: Dresden. Every other bomb and artillery scarred city in this worldwide war. The camps. The beaches. The forests. The Gestapo headquarters. The historian’s offices. The living rooms of veterans and survivors.
With my camera, my notebook, my paintbrush. My heart. My soul.
This is where I belong.