FOULDS: This layered life of ours

In the end — and now, and always — we are all simply layers, briefly at the top, but inevitably squeezed down to make way for the new kid on the block.

In life and death, we are but layers.

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That realization gains clarity as we age, with each dawn bringing our mortality into sharper focus.

There is no ladder long enough to help us climb up from the layer that eventually awaits our arrival, a layer that will, in due time, become the subject of fascination of those whose layers have yet to be created.

We see the layers in school, on the sports field, in relationships and at every job site, be it an office or construction site — a hierarchy created to maintain order and to maximize production and efficiency.

Sometimes, the layers — the actual layers — are stumbled upon, as was the case last month on West Victoria Street, where road crews came across an amazing discovery, that being the remains of a person or persons dating to before the First Nations in the area encountered Europeans.

Think about that.

In 2019, people operating machinery dig a hole and find bones of a person who lived and died well before the ancestors of those using the machinery even imagined they would cross an ocean to seek out the New World.

The remains are those of a person or persons who died in the late 1700s or earlier.

Tests may narrow down their age, but to have the technology age come into contact with the age of Tk’emlups, not Kamloops, is remarkable.

As time crawls forward, the layers increase and we are daily walking upon them, sometimes aware, but mostly oblivious to the immense history that is within feet of our feet.

We can imagine what lies beneath, but we can also know in so many ways.

We learn every two weeks via KTW’s Dig It column, a fascinating look at what Kamloops archeologists are discovering daily, be it an ancient village uncovered near Savona during bridge construction or various pithouses that may otherwise be mistaken for Mother Nature-created mounds.

All of these, plus the myriad stone tools used in eons past, are always below us, folded into their own layers, most still waiting to be discovered.

We can use what lies beneath to create commerce up above, as can be found in so many cities.

In Seattle, one of the best tourist attractions is Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour, in which guides takes you below the present-day Emerald City, to a section of the city that remains following the devastating Great Seattle Fire of 1889.

It is an exciting, eerie tour as one is guided along sidewalks that remain one or two storeys below present-day Seattle.

Chicago, too, is a layered city, with about 10 feet between the Windy City of the mid-1800s and the City of Broad Shoulders of today. Perpetual flooding led city officials in 1855 to decide to raise the streets. To this day, the city’s 2.7-million residents are walking on top of the Chicago of yesterday, not knowing what can be found below.

From bones to businesses, all become layers.

The history highlight of my life has been a trip to Italy, where much is built atop of that which preceded it. From the catacombs of Rome to the ruins of the ancient Santa Reparata Church beneath the Duomo in Florence, the breadth of history is astonishing.

Imagine placing your hand on a paving stone that was laid before Jesus Christ was born.

As we rush to the next appointment or run down that trail in a bid to preserve our health, as we dance to a celebration or take a moment to guide our bare toes through blades of grass, try to spare a thought as to what lies beneath and appreciate that all that has passed before us once stood atop that which preceded it.
Twitter: @ChrisJFoulds

© Kamloops This Week


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