the talking stones

ralph klimek, April 2011

There are a few things said and written that are actually true
This is one of them

Everything is temporary, it is merely a matter of perspective.
Everything that you say will be forgotten
Everything that you create will be destroyed or slowly decay into oblivion
Everything that you write will be erased
To Everything that you hear, listen carefully, for it it rarely repeated.

It is highly unlikely that even your  grand children will know your name, or what you did or what you said.
Perhaps if you were great,  by deeds good or evil, some might remember,
But greatness is often earned, but rarely acknowledged and quickly forgotten.

So you would like a small measure of immortality ? Just a lingering sense that your little life
was not utterly in vain and will not be utterly erased, then this is all I can give you .

The Stones that Speak

In deep time all objects return to their native elements. All metals are chemically reactive. All resins oxidise.
All ceramics are inert, but only by degrees.  All objects will decay and their purpose and history be known to
only by the eternal gods.

A select few of the objects hewn by Men from the elements, gifts of the gods, will partly endured.

A few moths ago I visited the Museum and art gallery in my home town. In a basement was an exhibit of archaelogical artefacts
 from the very dawn of civilization itself and possibly the actual place where writing was invented. Here was exhibited some small humble artifacts of the craft of the scribe.

The stone tablets are not the nicely shaped ,polished slabs of dressed, hard stone. They dont look like the polished slabs that Moses was
said to have carried down from the Mount , as our cultural archetypes suggest, They had a humbler origin.

The stone tablets were actually small hand sized, potato shaped clods of clay, completely covered with cunieform script. There was not a spare patch
on this stone that was blank.

They were in this shape because perhaps the scribe, his apprentice or his slave had to take a handfull of clay, and kneaded it by hand into this little
clod of uniform consistancy. When the scribe had been satisfied that this green clay was of suitable quality he embossed it with his stylus, a piece
of reed.  When the records had been made, the clod was roasted in a fire and the clay transformed to an enduring ceramic. It would probably have
been carefully kept by its owner and presented from time to time to various officials, probably around tax time, for this little tablet was a record of a mans possessions. So many oxen, goats, wives, children, slaves and other chattels.  The little tablet also bore the seal of the scribe, his monogram. I suppose that made it "official". 

I could still read the original writing, as written six thousand hot summers and wretched winters ago.

This little tablet with its charming, but now irrelevant record will endure the curious gaze of a million passing admirers, fires, floods and thefts.
But chemistry will not be thwarted for ever, its elements will be leached, the substance will return to the earth that spawned it. But at least
this scribes' writing, his slaves work will remain readable, even if the meaning is lost for maybe one million years before the particles of sand in which it gets buried sinter together and tablet and sand and clay again become indistinguishable as sandstone, solid rock....once again.

The art of making stones speak is an ancient one. Only the technology has moved on. There are now incredible devices to be had, that are
cheap enough for the common man to purchase and use.   cutting tools are now encrusted with Adamant, not merely to  bemuse the
incredulous stares of the idle and curious, but to cut and polish because before Crystalline Carbon, all other minerals must rend.

So Here after this maudlin discourse is a positive idea.

With a diamond encrusted saw blade it is possible to cut the hardest stone, and that stone is dressed by the blade to a near mirror finish.
It is literally easier to cut a lump of quartz in perfect halves with an angle grinder and diamond wheel that it is to cut a block of frozen butter!

It is now also possible to purchase for little money diamond encrusted rotary burrs.

It is very easy to use a diamond rotary burr to write , to engrave ,onto the hardest rock as easily as one would write on paper. If you cannot cut a rock,
at least write something on a smooth quartz pebble.

Archaeoligists are forever fossicking around in ancient garbage pits and fossilized latrines for the artefacts of civilizations and people that have come and gone. They are looking for what these people did and said and from that we learn what lessons it pleases us to learn. One enduring problem that the Archaeologist allways faces is the dating of layers and artefacts.  The years have only had consistent numbering since the time of the Caesars and it mostly never occured to ancient artefact creators and monument biulders to date their creations.  Even the mighty Romans named the years , not by a number, but by the name of the current Consul.

If you do write in stone, date it !  Thats all I ask, that , and that you do actually write something in the stone.  What do you do with your stone ? It really does not matter, but a landfill would be a good place to place it. It will be here that some future fossicker, treasure hunter or archaeologist will find it. Only  stones will survive in that envoironment and with them maybe something you wrote some number of uncountable eons ago. I suggest that future discovery  is virtually certain.  If you have the time and patience, write the same message in the differant languages that you might know.

Write something, anything. Possibly a simple greeting, greeting or hardly matters.  However I would ask that you consider the thing that you write because it will endure for maybe up to one million years !  Date it !   Best method is to refer to current  astronomical events, as these can always be back-caulculated in the distant future.

my little pieces of attempted immortality

see if I'm wrong !