So, I’m thinking about a pilgrimage in October. It was only 158 years ago on October 7th that Edgar Allen Poe died at the young age of 40. I’m thinking of trekking over to West Baltimore to mark the anniversary of his death.
I grew up with an eccentric aunt and uncle who were always the element of mystery in each Christmas. They didn’t have kids, so their Christmas gifts were always the last things we wanted, but in retrospect, some of the coolest. One year when I was maybe 8 or 9 they gave me a hardback copy of some Edgar Allen Poe short stories and poems. It was gorgeously illustrated and had a full-color skull/death motif on the cover. Did that gift make me into a depressed kid or did being a depressed kid allow me to better empathize with Poe? I’m not sure which came first, my depression or my reading Poe, but either way an empathetic bond was created between myself and this emotional wreck of a romantic who lived so long ago. (“Long ago” is a relative thing… I’m only 37.)
A story that Poe wrote, Eleonora, has been a favorite of mine to read and a muse for several artistic projects over the years. It has the romantic elements of beauty, love, tragic death and a good old haunting, although a happy kind of haunting. The story is amazingly not a tragedy. Sometime soon I’ll post a digital image of the painting I did a few years ago when I returned to oil painting… it is based on the place where the story of Eleonora begins, in the “valley of the many colored grasses.”
Anyway… October 7th is a Sunday which means I wouldn’t be able to leave Bethesda until 1 or 2pm, unless anyone would like to make a Saturday trek the day before the anniversary of his death. Either way, I’m thinking of a little sight-seeing visit to his grave, sharing a little reading of some of his poetry there, and maybe some port wine.
Well, anyone up for a pilgrimage?
“They who dream by day
are cognizant of many things
which escape those who dream
only by night”
– Edgar Allen Poe, from Eleonora