This fort runs thick with the vibe of crumbling memories from an era which I stretch to fathom. A time of insecurity and struggle which lead the people of this place, which is our home, to build shelter in the hillside and watch for the enemy.
My children walk across this history with steps light and eyes alive.
Thrilled by the mystery of a tunnel through which they can travel back into the dark recesses and explore its' damp path. I try and explain the why and how and when but much of the story rings hollow with generalities and loose ends which I struggle to tie. I can't seem to connect myself to the humans that roamed across this landscape from a past that seems distant...but isn't. I answer the childrens' questions to the limit of my knowledge.
Finally, I crouch with my back against an abundantly cracked wall, being consumed by vegetation. The wall is slowly, slowly being devoured by the hillside. This seems natural enough but suggests an urgency for me to decipher this code of disconnection before it disappears all together.
I think of the late Utah Phillips and his assertion that "the past didn't go anywhere". That we are standing among it all the time. I feel this.
As I lean against that wall and watch the children explore I am reminded of the present. Reminded of those places where eyes are still watching for the enemy. Where children still need to take cover.
I talk with my kids about when they are not feeling safe.
This, they understand.
One day they will contemplate the riddles of the past. The injustices of the present. The threads that bind the two together. I see that my ancestors that built this fort had both a past to contemplate and a future to shape. They were farmers and fishermen and artists and teachers. Not just fighters. Through the distance of time I think that, like me, they would be happy to see children playing on this hillside.