Monday, September 25th 2017

Parataxic distortion

PhyllistheAuthor— Have you ever noticed how when you buy something like a new car you suddenly see that make of car everywhere? Psychologists call the phenomenon parataxic distortion. Since our journey along the Camino de Santiago to Compostela, Spain, we see scallop shells—traditional symbol of the pilgrimage—everywhere. Even Coquilles St. Jacques, a favorite scallop recipe, takes on new meaning.

In spite of my heightened sensitivity to scallop shells, on a recent visit to the new archeology museum celebrating the 400th anniversary of the settlement at Jamestown, I was taken aback to see three Compostela pilgrim badges displayed among the artifacts. I have lived three miles from Jamestown since 1985 and frequently visited there, and this is the first time I have felt a real connection to the early settlers. It is often said that everything is connected, and I’m beginning to believe that is true.

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