- Francisco Vazquez Murillo -
Cruzar el río
Ten thousand years ago, we gave up being nomads and began settling. After millions of years of walking, we stopped chasing benevolent weather for living and hunting.
Generation upon generation we walked like migrating animals, subject to the force of the elements. Guided by the sun and past learnings we traveled thousands of kilometers of land, sand, rocks, vegetation, snow, ice and mountains. The landscape continuously transforming.
We learned to battle and hunt animals. Carved rocks, invented spears, traps, bows, nets and arrows. We began to cook meat. Opened new paths in exploring the unknown. Territory was the space walked towards a following destination and the landscape then remained as memory: the trails of animals, elements of sunsets, the cave, the fear of night and cold.
Step by step an inner trace was molded. In the vastness of landscape, we invented the images and thoughts that wondered about the unknown which surrounded us.
A more temperate and benevolent climate opened a gap in the path for our survival. Seas rose. Food abounded. The walkers gradually began to stay in a single place through the seasons.
The feeling of feet stepping on earth, the position of the sun, the constant change of scenery, the sensation of the atmosphere against the body. Smell, strength, hunger, cold, fear, flies, disease. The wisdom of hundreds of generations of nomad ancestors begins to fold upon the body like foliage at the end of a path.
Rock upon rock, brick upon brick, the first houses were very close to one another. Joined by their round stone walls, almost together on the valley’s ledge. The cereal we grew transformed our lives forever. The meat from cattle allowed the passing of cold seasons. We made the animals work. We built a mill with heavy stones and irrigation systems. The technique evolved with tools. We perfected vessels, pots and the handling of fire within the home. We began to treasure objects, and learned to protect them. What had been won had to be protected. Families grew, and the more we were, the more tensions appeared. But the villages and their surroundings were safer than the ferocious animal filled paths and the inclement weather that dominated open landscape.
Calendars organized sowing, harvests and rituals. The movement of the sun and stars, the rains and river flow were efforts to be celebrated. Well-being not only depended on our labor but also on mother earth’s contentment and kindness as well as on the help of our ancestors, the dead. In winter, shepherds walked along cattle to more temperate zones, bringing news from other places.
Tall stones began to be transported form one place to another and erected as prehistoric obelisks besides paths or magical sites. Others were organized in large groups, in places apart from the villages. Relocation gave the stones, those who moved them and the chosen location, new meaning. A titanic group effort undertaken due to the determination of a sorcerer or by work and passion of the region’s clans.
Once buried, the stone transformed the landscape. As an artificial object, it generated a center and brought upon a connection to the evident. The stones on the grass like motionless trees, like timeless objects, like portals to other worlds. A construction to honor the dead, to anchor them to the earth.
The space surrounding them was the site of a forgotten connection. Their movement, a small demonstration of greatness, a challenge to the possible, a dream of ages.