Saturday, July 4, 2015

Rockets and Ruins

Well now, what have we here?

A fireworks stand with ancient stone columns in the background!  Huh.

Another view from a different angle, this time showing the "chainsaw art" establishment behind it. This odd little emporium is on my way north to the the cabin so if I ever want a full sized rustic carving of a bear I know where to stop.

This is all part of an odd little town that is centered around a saloon.  The owners, or perhaps some previous owners, had very eclectic tastes and the place is festooned with old metal signs, lumberjack implements, pinatas, get the idea.  I assume that the columns, and they are genuine granite, were hauled in as part of this kitsch-fest.  The conversation around the dinner table that night must have been interesting:


(long pause)  ".....yes?"

"I bought some big stone pillars off of a Carnegie Library.  They're being delivered on Tuesday."

(silence in which room temperature drops perceptibly).

So, rockets and ruins albeit the latter are somewhere between faux, folly, and spolia.

It has been a bad stretch for genuine ancient ruins of late.  Callous despots don't mind hiding ammunition dumps in them and the chaotic savages that seem to swirl in the wake of unrest have actually begun taking hammers to our collective heritage.  As they are simultaneously at war with the Past and the Future there seems to be no way to appeal to any common ground.  Whatever your political inclinations I think we can all share an abhorrence of these twisted beings - more orc than human - who transgress all constraints of human decency and of the true tenets of their religious heritage in fevered pursuit of a dark and inchoate dream.

I sure hope not, but is it possible that some far distant archeologists will look at an obscure little Wisconsin hamlet as the apparent last enclave of ancient Roman civilization?  Scholars have made sillier mistakes when presented with nothing but a jumbled pile of splintered debris.

It is the Fourth of July.  A time when we Americans celebrate what is right with our great experiment. With apologies to my British friends I suggest that we all do the same each in our own ways.  For all the troubles of the world there is still much to be proud of, much to aspire to.  Perhaps for one day we can forget what is wrong and celebrate the better aspirations, not just of America but of all lands where the Rule of Law is respected and where people hope for a better tomorrow.

No comments: