Perhaps, like me, you have looked into the night sky and wondered if somewhere in that great cobalt circle someone was looking at earth and wondering… who are you? What are you like?
These days, the mysteries of the universe seem even more fascinating. Imagine—the astrophysicists have discovered a galaxy so very distant that the light from Galaxy MACS607-JD needs to travel 13.3 billion years to reach us. What really boggles my mind is that 13.2. billion years is 97% the known age of the universe! We’re talking about reaching into the beginning of time!
In another mind-blowing discovery, these learned sky-watching folks have found a ‘goldilocks’ world many light years away which is so situated that life is possible there. Life, yes— but what kind of life? Who are you? I would like to ask the inhabitants of ‘Goldilocks,’ but it is unlikely that we will ever know the answer. Instead I must be content with contemplating mysteries closer to home.
So here is a near-at-hand mystery. In the foothills and mountains of South Carolina, there are apparently some hundred sites where—archeologists believe—ancient people carved their messages on stone surfaces and painted them with clay. One of these pre-historic carvings is the Jadaculla Rock which is to be found in a park near Cullowhee. Also, I have read that another archeological find—discovered very recently— is a 30×40 foot boulder soon to be on display in a two-room edifice built by the Pickering CountyMuseum. The thirty one images on the flat surface of this boulder have been so faded and eroded by time and by the elements that on a sunny day they could not be seen. If an archeologist had not studied the boulder on a rainy day, the carvings would have been lost for all time.
Who were these people who lived here so many millennia ago? What did they think as they chiseled their stick figures and animals onto stone? Perhaps they were telling a story or recounting an adventure, or giving directions to the best place to hunt. Or—and this is the explanation that I like most of all—perhaps they wondered as they chipped away at stone who would view their art. Perhaps they puzzled—as I puzzle now—what the world would be like in untold ages to come and asked the universal question: who are you? what will you be like?
In the faded rock
We see shadows of ourselves,
Our past and future.