Sundry Wonders is a weekly column featuring a photo gallery and meditation, usually based on my walks. With my last week in Split comes a little melancholy. Going to the Archaeological Museum, with all of its markers of our fleeting time on Earth seemed fitting.

So little time left in Split

Yesterday a familiar sense crept into my day, and I found myself, as they say, up in my feelings. I’m in my last week here in Split, a city that I’ve grown to love, even as I have realized just how little I truly know about it. Even after a month of exploring, there’s little alleyways that still surprise me, and the “real Split,” beyond the pedestrian zones a mystery to me. And, I am running out of time. With my adventures have come a lot of farewells.

I suppose it was fitting that I visited the Archaeological Museum yesterday, ahead of going on my adventure in the Roman ruins of Salona (modern-day Solin) tomorrow. On my way there, I took a little detour down Ulica Nikole Tesle (how cool is that street name), where I encountered a horde of teenagers just out of school. The boys all had paninis, munching on them as they walked and ran and teased each other. The girls stood in circles, the way that girls do.

I felt a bit mortified on their behalf.

And also a bit terrified. To me, there’s almost nothing more terrifying than a horde of teenagers. I wasn’t alone. The woman walking her dog and the older couple picked up their pace as well.

As all archaeological museums tend to be, Split’s was mostly about death. Death and the promise of an comfortable afterlife in exchange for worship take over our lives, and we pour so much effort into being remembered after we’re gone. My ticket covered the exhibition of findings from the Island of Vis, which I’d seen on my speedboat tour last week, and also in the peristyle surrounding the courtyard. I spent most of my time in the peristyle, in the company of Death.

Nearly every piece was from a gravesite of some kind, from Roman times through the early medieval period. Chiseled stone likenesses remembered those whose bodies who have become dust. It was beautiful and sad and had me feeling so melancholy that we spend more of our time thinking out our death than living our lives.

And we have so very little time. So little time to feel the sun on our face and to feel surprise when we turn a corner and to be teenagers, and to be frightened of their perception of endless time.

The sun had mostly gone down, when I rejoined the living out on the street, families with children, old ladies with their shopping, and wanderers like me. I stopped at a little wine bar down the street from where I’m staying. They were playing music from my youth. “Freedom, ’90,” “Don’t You Forget About Me.” One embraces becoming who you are, even if it means you might not be able to stick around. The other, well, that’s the wrong sentiment, isn’t it?

If we spend all of our time trying to be remembered, we will not have lived a life worthy of it.

Gallery: Sundry Wonders

Photos from the Archaeological Museum of Split

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