21 augustus, 2011
The archeologist asks the question: “What happened here?”
This is where people worshiped. At this site food was stored in clay urns. A battle took place here.
Digging through layers of accretion the archeologist finds an object. Can he trace the path of the arrow whose flinty head he now holds up to the light? Feeling its knapped edge can he know if it landed in the soft heart of a fearful boy? And if so did that unlucky youth have a moment to look up at the sky and reflect on his life? Or was it swift from behind? And did his eyes close even before his face planted into the soft grass? And what of he who loosed his arrow, the sender of that brittle time capsule? Of him the archeologist knows even less.
* * *
Walking in Los Angeles I encounter a city of layers. Not the underground layers of ancient cities, but upright layers expanding laterally, exposed and permeable like movie-set walls. Passing under an elevated freeway that covers the streets below as an exoskeleton I discover a neighborhood entombed by infrastructure, cutoff from the rest of the city. There, next to a container yard and an empty lot sits a modest house with a fence; no sign of people anywhere save for the cars racing down the thoroughfare, entering and exiting the freeway. I stare at the hole in the fence and ask myself, “What happened here?”