Photo by Bayes Ahmed
In this issue of the Journal we straddle the past and future with a story about nature disclosing a marvel of cave wall art, and we’ll talk about the responsibility we have towards the gifts nature has bestowed upon us in every era.
It was September 8, 1940. Dordogne, a village in Montignac. The harvest had yet to begin. Dots of red adorned the rows that climbed the hill towards the manor. Sunflowers, still in full bloom, waved yellow. And the black uniforms of the Allgemeine-SS – already in place at the border of occupied France in Bordeaux – had not crossed the countryside which belonged to the Lascaux family.
1940, IN THE DORDOGNE, NEAR BORDEAUX.
But a boy had. He was walking near the Montignac hill, together with his dog named Robot. We’re not sure why! About the dog’s name, we mean. Perhaps prior to the war, in a small-town cinema, they were still showing the sci-fi masterpiece Metropolis. Or the very recent word had made its way through some paperback novel. Whatever the reason, Robot – heedless of his futuristic name – at a certain point slipped into a hole in the ground and rediscovered a twenty thousand-year-old past.
DISCOVERING THE COLORS OF LASCAUX.
Who hasn’t heard about the painted caves of Lascaux? Hundreds of cave paintings depicting animals. Pictures of bison up to five meters wide. Nature didn’t want this colorful Paleolithic marvel to be hidden from us past 1940. Perhaps it was destiny that an animal would rediscover it. Of course, the caves did not deserve the fate that modern man dictated in just a few decades of mass tourism.
THE PLASTIC TEMPLE OF LASCAUX IV.
Today Lascaux IV exists. A perfect reconstruction of the painted underground caverns that Robot had once slipped into, and which today can no longer welcome visitors. It is also too easy to criticize a society that has to build plastic shrines for itself because it doesn’t know how to take care of the ones nature has given it. What matters now is utilizing technological know-how to preserve these gifts. Indeed, it is unlikely other Lascaux will ever appear. But we do look forward to other autumn walks!