The ordinary thought is that our contemporaries are now alive during our own lives. But look at this stone axe, or trace your fingers across the red paint on this rock where a deer can still be seen. Or read the Odyssey, Book XXIII, where Penelope realizes that Odysseus has come home. Or witness Lear, mad in the storm, or listen to Maria Yudina playing Mozart, say the Fantasia, K. 475. Who will not find these lives overlapping with our own, their time our present moment? Who will fail to recognize the hands and the eyes that shaped these creations? The same as in the far future when something, or its robot, even from a distant world, sifts the jumbled remains of an archaic streambed or at the mouth of a glacier and finds what it believes to be some trace of the human, something from our own time, from this city before it burned, something we could not take on the long road to the north, our only hope then that someone would come to value it as we did in our day, let us say a square of bronze stamped with five words from the Book of Ephesians: “Be kind to one another.”
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