it’s an urge to say
I was here, I saw this and
it mattered to me
Adapted from the book, The Art of Travel (2002, Vintage Books) by Alain de Botton, and the passage:
A dominant impulse on encountering beauty is to wish to hold on to it, to possess it and give it weight in one’s life. There is an urge to say, ‘I was here, I saw this and it mattered to me.’
But beauty is fugitive, being frequently found in places to which we may never return or else resulting from rare conjunctions of season, light and weather.
How then to possess it, how to hold on to the floating train, the halvalike bricks or the English valley?
The camera provides one option. Taking photographs can assuage the itch for possession sparked by the beauty of a place; our anxiety over losing a precious scene can decline with every click of the shutter.
According to the website, GOOD READS, Any Baedeker will tell us where we ought to travel, but only Alain de Botton will tell us how and why.
As I said in the section on Architecture , what I find irresistible in reading Mr. de Botton is his use of language.
I get the feeling that if you made a spread sheet of all the words, adverbs and adjectives used by Mr. de Botton, you just might find that he used each word just once.
Neat trick in writing a book.
If I knew how to do that, hey, I would.