Saturday, March 1

Archaeology can make you sad

While cutting up the last of the big oak branches by the corral, I kept noticing a couple of little round pieces of iron poking out of the ground. Nearby was the very top edge of what looked like a piece of angle iron. Figuring the horses might mistake the two pieces of iron for acorns, and therefore bite them and break off their front teeth and then require us to feed them for the rest of their lives by taking a whole bunch of hay and grain and water and running it through a blender and pouring it into a bucket and teaching horses to drink through a straw, I thought it wise to dig up the little pieces of iron. Lo and behold the two pieces were connected to a long square bar of iron, and not only that, said bar was lying next to another long bar. Turns out what we had here is a pair of wagon axles from way long ago. A cursory examination failed to find any Egyptian hieroglyphics or even Mayan or Incan symbols. Heck, not even “Made in Occupied Japan.” The axles were probably hand-forged by some old blacksmith with biceps the size of modern folks’ thighs in a dimly-lit hellishly hot dungeon of a shop with some poor 8-year-old kid pumping the bellows for ten cents a week if he’s lucky to keep the filthy coal-fired forge going white hot for twelve hours a day, missing school and eventually growing up to be the village idiot because he breathed toxic mercury-laden fumes just so some rich customer wouldn’t have to get up on a horse’s back for his ride into town to woo the painted lady at one of the sinful saloons of which there were way too many for a town that size.
Kinda makes you sad.

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