Monday, September 5, 2016

Trip to Doylestown and Memories of a Journey to Afghanistan 51 Years Ago

Buddha Statue, Bamian, Afghanistan

 In the summer of 1965, Mom, Dad, Richard, Fred, and Tad took a trip to Afghanistan.  Over a dinner party in Beverly Mass, Richard had explained that roads can take you from England to Afghanistan and somehow the idea galvanized the group of friends.  This summer, fifty-one years later, Mom suggested we go to a museum in Doylestown PA to see a show about Afghanistan.  There Mom walked through the show of Steve McMurry’s iconic photographs of his tours through Afghanistan.  She showed me a map, tracing the steps of her itinerary in 1965, arriving in Herat, driving to Kandamar, and then Kabul, before making their way out past Jalabad and the Kyber Pass on their way to India.  In 1968, they toured around Afghanistan alone.   We looked at the portraits and tragic images of a geography overrun by war.  Looking at a picture of a man by a pile of tires, Mom recalled sitting in the car as their land rover underwent repairs.  She read a novel or their reviewed their travel guide in French.  Walking by the photos of the statues of Buddas of Bamiyan, Mom recalled seeing the Bhuddas first hand.   And, of course, in 2011 the Taliban destroyed the ancient statues. Its bittersweet to see these images of the humanity of the people of Afghanistan, the kids, a man who takes portraits, another man who sells teeth, the scenes of people ravaged by war.

The rest of the museum collection includes pieces from the permanent collection of the Pennsylvania Impressionists and New Hope school, a small but lively chapter in the history of art.
We looked at art all afternoon. But it was nice to leave early knowing it would still be there the next time we go and that we don’t have to fly 3000 miles to see it again.

We drove back through New Hope and Lambertville enjoying the lovely afternoon and its blue skies.
Later that night, I saw a few leaves falling from the trees.  Summer is about over.  We talked about the food on our journey around Italy, the truffles, the lovely pastas every night, the galleries, so much art, memories that hopefully we’ll all be sharing 51 year from now.  

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