Just found a wonderful video of someone cycling through Ile de Re, which is the French island that William Longespee was stranded on. Of course, at the time it was an English possession, and thus a safe haven for the shipwrecked English barons who landed there.
Strangely, while Notre Dame de Re is now in such a ruined state that it no longer gives me any sense of familiarity, it was the views of the strangely narrow beach heads, the farmer’s fields, and the young buds on the bushes that gave me chills. I remembered that these were among the signs in the natural turning of the seasons that told us it was time to go back to England. The neat rows of the fields in the video also reminded me of the fields the monks used to tend.
I think I wanted to stay at that abbey once I saw it in spring. The windy bailey at the center of Old Sarum would be so drab by comparison. Perhaps my memory of a conversation with an abbot about becoming a monk isn’t so far-fetched after all.
That was a strange memory. Sort of sad, since Longespee was already ill by all accounts, and died just a short time after his return to England. But not a fearful sadness like John’s memories; more like the sort of sadness a very old person would feel as they walk through a field in the spring time. It’s almost as if I had known I was dying even then. I don’t know if this necessarily contradicts the poisoning theory but I don’t think I died uneasy at all.
An unrelated note:
In the course of this blog you may notice that I alternate between first and third person when referring to presumed past lives quite freely. This is for several reasons:
1. I often have a difficult time knowing which way to use when referring to past lives since there is no grammatical protocol for that in any language as far as I know.
2. It seems to be a good contextual clue to the fact that I don’t know for sure if I was any of these people, and that I have only presumed that thanks to the vividness and veracity of the memories.
3. Because “I” and “me” are too hopelessly vague when referring to multiple iterations of the self across several centuries.
4. Because sometimes, I really feel insecure and think I might be doing someone a great dishonor saying that I was any of these people (hence the reason I won’t name my most recent past life).