Clouds fly across the big blue sky over ancient cities not currently owned by the ones that made them great. Grass like domesticated suburbia covers soil that covers stone that covers old cobbled pavers from thousands of years past.
These spaces were filled with warriors, once.
At the top of hills that roll like a smooth cascading river, complete with stripes and occasional turbulence, the untouched old spaces remain. Thoroughly touched but standing none-the-less. Lost civilizations having built citadels that live thousands of years, we can barely manage curbs that last a dozen.
Visitors waddle across great terraces where previously only the great chiefs walked.
Sitting there on the hilltop upon the hilltop it all feels too surreal. What for? Temples stripped of gold plates with significance and replaced with disease and slavery. Like overgrown children on unkempt playgrounds the conquerors never stopped to wonder at the mysteries they found before utterly destroying them.
This place feels in layers.
On the surface is an innocence. Modern middle class coming to experience something they cannot understand on a tour that touches the story with sterility. The photos are great. The view is fantastic. Ropes on posts remove peril by providing a mindless track on which this wonder can be experienced guilt free.
But there is something deeper.
A sadness. A pain. A violence. The people that built this place were measuring the stars and wondering at the celestial heavens while the conquerors were losing themselves to the greed and excitement of claiming a world that didn’t know it was available to be claimed. A game began far away and anyone not present at the start was deemed expendable. Materials were given significance. Acquisition was compulsory. Permission was abstract.
Many innocent people died and their blood is in this soil.
Yet deeper still is something else. Something that calls to the patiently witnessing. A gentleness. An embrace. Families and culture. Mysticism unbound by skepticism connected to the heavens by tenuous threads of trust. And love. It’s easy to call this place a ‘wall’. But this is only a misleading assumption projected by the mechanisms of a language that doesn’t understand.
This is not a wall, but a home.
Drifting consciousness barely present slides between the lazy gaps in the tourist’s projection to find cracks and breaks in the anger and sadness that paints these stones. Once through, the deeper, richer, fuller essence of this place comes to life. The energy of happy families in full markets before bustling games with cheering crowds permeates and expands. Proud fathers with growing sons are here. Amidst the shadows of these stones life happened. A people with sophistication that brings modern life into question produced something of significance.
Not for the history books or the economic tallies, but for the life.
For a moment the hill top comes to life with the countless lives of a people that understood: Simple frames. Simple Structures. Simple mechanisms. And all is made complete by the nature of presence and persistence. All is done without excessive doing and no mind is bent to the concept of contest with the world. All selves are pressed to the felt sensation of being of the world.
The sensation fades and the tourists return.
Sun glints off reflective placards held by
Impatient guides that have a sense of,
But not a sensation for what is truly here.
There is shouting and the incessant heckling
Of people that, if they only felt this place,
Really felt what seeps from these stones,
Would simply trust the world to hold them.