Posted byOut of Place and Time
Posted onJanuary 28, 2015
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The cold has finally come to New England, but without any of the charm usually associated with it. No snow, no frosty landscapes, no blinding sun against stark white. At this time last year, a storm hit the coast, leaving in its wake a visually arresting mixture of beauty and destruction. It seemed that a spell was cast that encased the town in ice and threw the ocean into a frothy fury. Winter.
There are places in Québec City where you can briefly forget the 21st century. Views, buildings, streets that feel of old in ways that are hard to come by in North America. At some level, history is a sense not unlike our senses of smell and sight. It may be more subtle, but sometimes you can feel history in and around your whole body, and you can wade through its thick and mysterious complexities.
At twilight in Québec, in the dim, warm light, you begin to travel backwards. And if you wait a little longer, until dark, the sound of tourists die down, and the cars and artificial lighting are absorbed by the ancient stones. Finally, the city is yours and the present is gone, but the river is still there like it always has been.
When you spend your day in the dirt, digging, moving rocks, you begin to merge with your environment. You observe the details, the tiny bits of life around you as they interact in ways never before noticed. The insect realm starts to feel oddly close and familiar, because for once you are sharing their space, their world; you are at their level. The goal of archaeology may be to learn about ancient people, but its practice brings you closer to earth in more ways than one.