This month’s National Geographic displayed a picture of a huge ziggurat in the city of Dur Untash, built in the 13th Century B.C., a a vast stepped-temple tower that rose above the landscape, dominating the foreground and horizon. I wonder what the builders of that structure would think if they knew it was there, still standing.
There’s something poignant and humbling about such ancient monuments still, isn’t there, because how many things built today are constructed with as much bloody-mindedness when faced with the concept of time. They’re weathered, a little crumbled, but with a bold dignity that makes anything new seem untested, inferior even.
For me there’s a metaphor, about a monument such as this, that when some people have sparred with age everyone respects them with awe. They speak their name in whispers. Do people become monuments, great legendary figures, I wonder, or do some of us become like artifacts, collectable items that we don’t quite understand, but we want them around us anyway to remind us of something we’re not sure about. A misguided comfort. But most are left to gather dust, the sheer volume of items and constructs given to history, anonymous.