Last weekend we cleaned out the back garden of our house. Renovations are just wrapping up, and the tilers had just finished their work. As such, the garden beds in the backyard were full of bits of concrete, red clay roofing tiles and other detritus. We pulled most of the junk out, hauled in some gravel and leveled the beds.
Our landlord pointed to those two big stones and said, “those are Roman.”
This sort of thing always blows my mind. Here are two human-made objects, likely more than 2000 years old, sitting in our backyard like a couple of discarded lawn darts. They may have been moved here at some point from a local abbey, or they may have always been here. But, of course, much of the world routinely interacts with very old objects. It’s totally routine to have some Roman rocks in your yard if you’re French.
When you’re a Canadian (with apologies to First Nations settlements), everywhere else is older than your nation. Traveling, therefore, routinely blows your mind. I’ve written about Dublin’s Museum of Natural History before, but I remember being shocked to discover that they have a stuffed rhinoceros on display that’s older than my country.
It’s a less spiritual experience, but it’s a little like standing next to a 1000-year-old Douglas Fir. It puts your life in perspective.
As for these Roman stones, we’re thinking they’ll look nice holding up some pots of begonias.