For the last week, I've been touring southern France with my family in celebration of my dad finally retiring. I've been seeing, tasting, and feeling so many new things. What strikes me most (other than all the delicious cheese that seems to be everywhere) is the overwhelming sense of history that permeates the entire place, from city to village, to countryside. Everywhere, there are remnants of other times. A medieval ruin here, the domain of a lost pacifist race wiped out in the crusades. There, the crest of an important family of merchants from the renaissance. The feeling of what has come before consumes me; it is as if I am actually walking just slightly behind the spirits of these places, finding little clues they have left for me. So many of these little treasures are in the very small details of the place. A doorknob here is a work of art. The grate to an air vent is a masterpiece. You get the sense from these details that the people who came before understood that each small thing must be beautiful in order to be worthy of belonging to this place.