A moment to treasure
I had been looking forward to this moment for months. For as long as I can remember I had a yearning to hold a Stone Age axe for myself. To feel the contours of the polished rock, to hold something which someone had crafted thousands upon thousands of years ago. In my hunt for these treasures in museums I always found that there was a glass screen between me and it, a small ‘interpretation’ label saying something along the lines of 18. Paleolithic axe from such and such a place.
Way back when I was sixteen my hunger to connect in with the old ways led me to volunteering at my local archaeological trust. It was there that I washed the little pieces of pot which were excavated from underneath buildings in Canterbury where I grew up.
The excitement of being only maybe the second person to handle these finds since they were discarded all those centuries ago. We were working with artifacts from the Middle Ages, dating back to the Romans.
But today we were going back to the Paleolithic times, when we were hunter gatherers, six thousand years ago. It’s almost an incomprehensible amount of time, and yet here I was holding an object, journeying to an object which connected me and its maker together across time.
I could have gone back even further, to almost half a million years ago, working with an axe created by the species which came before us, Homo Erectus. But it was the fine polish on the stone that had drawn me to this particular era in our evolution. Such exquisite craftsmanship from someone who clearly valued their possession, to spend so many thousands of hours crafting it to perfection.
So I played a drumming track on my ipod and journeyed to the maker of the stone axe. It was partly to satisfy my own desire for a deeper connection, and partly to have a go myself before we ran our forthcoming workshop. On the weekend of Friday 24th to Sunday 26th June the participants will be doing the very same thing – sitting and journeying with ancient objects from our far distant ancestors.
I only had a few minutes to journey, as we had a busy afternoon capturing film footage. The message I received was quite ironic really.
Slow, slow, slow.
Ironic in that I was in a rush, and I often seem to be in a rush, trying to juggle, to fit in all these things that I want to do, or feel I ought to do.
So simple, and so true. I could theorise, go into depth about how meaningful this message is for me right now, for our culture right now, perhaps for humanity right now.
But I shall stop here, slow down, and take myself off out for a walk in the woods, to slow down.