The ground is awfully hard to dig in. I have a small green shovel and it feels like I am trying to dig a hole in cement.
It is midday and we are burying some bone fragments we have found on the field close to my sister’s house. They are white and brittle and the intricate trabecular network is all exposed where the bone was broken.
My sister says it could be an animal bone but just to be sure we pay proper respect in case they are not, we will be burying them.
Sasha and I walk barefoot into the field, over some sharp white rocks that hurt both feet and eyes with a sun so bright, just until we reach an area where the grass has been cut a while ago.
The grass stubble is all dry and sharp, it’s like walking on toothpicks. We pick a spot and start digging. The combination of dried up, hardened dirt and liquid heat that pours on my back makes me think of all those who had and have to do this work not for a stint like ours today but for a living…
Ten centimeters in, we scoop the dirt out and lay the bone fragments in. You cannot not think of all that once was, in case they really are Roman bones. Two years ago around here I found a skull, that really was a Roman skull and I still remember feeling the ridges inside and the flurry of thoughts it caused in my head.
It’s a good reminder of how time takes no one’s part and a humbling experience altogether.
Last night we walked to the old fortress that is now beautifully restored and got to see a short play, a reenactment of times past, when the Romans first came to conquer Dacia. The boys were impressed and having possible undiscovered archaeological sites a few steps away makes them want to roam and dig and wonder.
This is a place imbued with history, a Roman town was once built here because of a legion that was stationed here for many years. There’s been a lot of digging done by teams of archaeologists and the local museum’s exhibitions have been swelling to impressive sizes and collection of artifacts, but truth is, the past has only been partially discovered.
It makes sense. Why would you take everything out anyway? Some things are better left alone. It is somewhat thrilling to know that even in my sister’s garden as we walk to do the daily gardening chores, there may be human remains deep in the ground and some more artifacts, pottery and such.
We cover the bones in dry hot dirt and walk home. I stop to pull out a couple of spikes that have pierced my feet and look around. The field runs buzzing with all sorts of bugs all the way to the feet of some old quiet hills, just like then. Some two thousand years or so ago. Time takes no one’s part. A reminder to be grateful for today…
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