The Old Wall

…before the fall


The old wall is covered in spots and cracks. But from a distance of more than six meters, within the confines of a human architectural environment, it looks like the surface of a forlorn planet not unlike our lunar satellite, drifting inside a hypothetical cosmology. It extends to some dark receding horizons, curving upward as if the force of a massive object had pushed itself into the first layers of the orb, very softly, making dents and folds of irregular shapes reason alone will not suffice to decipher. Those horizons where some apparently well informed scholars predict vertiginous falls from kilometre high flanks, the vestiges of estranged fortresses, stranded like ship wrecks mid ocean.

A prophesying monk had seen a Galleon, its name changing as it rotated captured by the turmoils of war and unpredictable currents, Orient, fleet of the Nile battles, blowing up like a super nova, or Grace Dieu, burning after a lightening bolt hit one of its masts, an archetypal ship Turner, the painter, would continuously return to in his wondrous visions of light and perdition. This opium ridden monk had watched the vessel whirl until it oscillated on the tip of the world, suddenly diving into the void as black as the mouth of Tacca Chantrieri, thus seeming to corroborate the beatific falsehood of a tabletop Earth. He foresaw dust storms made of mirror particles suffocating the biospheres of nascent stars. Some would engender vast craters in the bark of galactic Cedars. As we hover now in our minuscule cockpit, stealing a glimpse of truth from a future already spent, fragment of an atom among solar years of data, gliding with occasional lapses of momentum, above those mangled decrepit remains of terrain, we detect the signs of a life once thriving on the borders of unbridgeable gulfs. Yet all that life now stares blankly from left over traces incrusted in this dried skin, imprints of useless things, as white as the salts of a dead sea that in a remote past also touched the edges of our lands. A giant has scraped this body of unidentifiable evidence. No extraneous objects can be found.

This place is no longer a place at all, the transitory figment of a lacking imagination suspended in the somnolent mind of a wasted god. Rings and ridges, lines in the thinning palm of a creature that hominids mistook for a white elephant, inciting them to shoot deadly projectiles at scurrying clouds…Lying open to the glowering firmament. This is all that is left of the primordial waters that had covered and impregnated Gaia and her sisters, Gaia especially, the scintillating Sapphire of the solar continent, her hills, her ravins, her peaks and her abysmal pits, her caves and plateaux, her canyons and estuaries…the waters evaporating in the acidic haze of chemical bliss, all that is left on this side of the globe, the tempestuous ball of blue fire skidding down the artery of a haemorrhaging invertebrate morphing the history of our failure, a globe flattened under the weight of a perfect body, flattened it lies now like a map covering the face of our puny galaxy. In a field that extends beyond all optical powers, inert, silent, starless winter awaiting dawn, without us.

Copyright © Pascal Ancel Bartholdi 2015