Two weeks ago we had a stray eighty degree day and once again, my puppy had the time of her life. What was even better was, she was attentive to when I called her. So we never stressed about her annoying strangers and we didn't have to chase her.
IF YOU ARE A TRUE ROXY LOVER, YOU'LL NOTICE THAT THIS PICTURE IS OVER FIVE-YEARS OLD. BUT THE DEEPER POINT IS, I NEEDED TO BRING MY CAMERA THIS TIME...BUT DIDN'T.
During our jaunt, I bumped into my long time friend JS. We walked together along the water's edge and he told us about a recent trip to his homeland, Peru. OUR CONVERSATION WAS DOMINATED BY WHAT HE CALLED, THE THREE TOP TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN PERU.
This was an important trip for JS because it marked his lifetime goal of visiting Machu Picchu.
SET HIGH IN THE PERUVIAN ANDES, (7970 FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL), MACHU PICCHU IS ONE OF THE NEW, "SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD," ALSO KNOWN AS, "THE LOST CITY OF THE INCAS," THIS PRE-COLOMBIAN SITE IS BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN BUILT FOR EMPEROR PICHACUTI, (1438-1472).
JS boasted, "No single picture could tell you its beauty. And you'd have to actually be there to appreciate its inspirational power...and in my case, the pride in my ancestors."
He also mentioned that Machu Picchu was so remote that the Spanish Conquistadors couldn't plunder it because they never found it. Once the Incas abandoned it, it was forgotten until native descendants led archaeologists to the ruins in 1911.
Roxy roamed over a dune as JS changed the subject to another tourist destination, Lake Titicaca. She was sniffing at a bunch of forgotten beach toys that were nearly buried by the sand. I called her name and she returned to my side.
JS said he had been to Titicaca many times as a kid.
JS SAID AS A TEENAGER HE JOKED, "THE VIEW OF TITICACA IS PRETTIER FROM THE BOLIVIAN SHORE BECAUSE YOU SEE TITI ON THE DISTANT PERUVIAN SIDE...WHILE STANDING IN CACA."
I lost my concentration on his description of the lake when I saw a second, fuller set of pails, shovels and other novelties that were left behind. These toys were carefully set, perhaps measured, in an intentional arc facing the sea. Something about the two plastic boats that spanned across the top of pails gnawed at me for the rest of the day.
ONLY NOW THAT I AM WRITING THIS COLUMN DO I REGRET NOT PHOTOGRAPHING THOSE ABANDONED BEACH TOYS. BECAUSE IT WASN'T UNTIL THE RIDE HOME THAT I CAME UP WITH MY BIG CONCLUSION.
Before we went our separate ways, JS told me that he's never visited Peru's third most popular tourist attraction, the Nazca Lines.RE- DISCOVERED IN THE EARLY 1930's BY ANONYMOUS FLIERS IN AN AIRPLANE, NAZCA LINES ARE GEOGLYPHS THAT WERE ETCHED INTO THE SOUTHERN PERUVIAN DESERT FLOOR (440 A.D. -650 A.D.). THEY INCLUDE HUNDREDS OF INDIVIDUAL FIGURES, (MOSTLY ANIMALS), LIKE THE CONDOR ABOVE, (SOME ARE AS LARGE AS 660 FEET WIDE). MOST SCHOLARS ATTRIBUTE A RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE TO THEM, (i.e. RITUALS TO SUMMON WATER OR FOR FERTILITY).
JS said, "The Nazca Lines can not be appreciated from the ground." Therefore, the bigger controversy is how did the native people dig-out such intricate artwork without the perspective of seeing their accuracy from above. Although my research found that mainstream scientists using the same primitive techniques could indeed re-create these wonders...many truly believe that extraterrestrial influence was needed.
When JS referred to Eric von Daniken, (1968 best selling author of, "CHARIOTS OF THE GODS?" ...62 million copies sold plus other, less popular books on the subject), he said that the Nazca Lines were ancient runways for alien spacecraft. When JS saw my surprised reaction he said, "The mystery of Nazca makes it the Stonehenge of South America."
WORLD RENOWN STONEHENGE, IS A PREHISTORIC MONUMENT IN ENGLAND'S WILTSHIRE COUNTY. IN THE MIDDLE, EARTHWORKS ARE SURROUNDED BY A CIRCULAR SET OF LARGE STANDING STONES, (see above).
More enigmatic than Nazca, archaeologists estimate that it took 500 years to build and complete Stonehenge, around 2500 B.C. The site apparently served as an astronomy observatory, a religious site and as a burial ground. The monument was produced by a culture that didn't have a written language therefore its mode of construction is highly debatable.
Unlikely as it might seem, scholars believe that humans with the technology of that period could devise the idea, find the materials, engineer a way to import them to the proper area and position those enormous and heavy pieces...even across the top of others...into celestial accurate spots. Others like Eric von Daniken propose that those ancient people could not have possibly imagined, developed or constructed such an incredible project without supernatural intervention.
On our car ride back from Brigantine, Roxy calmly laid on the floor while my wife Sue texted the world about our outing. Alone with my thoughts, I couldn't get the shape of the beach toys left in the sand out of my head. That's when I remembered what JS said about Stonehenge.
My mind wandered to all the scientific speculation of Stonehenge's specifications. I bet that place has been measured millions of times and the data has been fed into computers tens of thousands of times...and the inconclusive results...reveal a gazillion possibilities.
My mind wandered even deeper when I imagined spacemen, (in flying saucers made of rock), so advanced that they quarried the Stonehenge stones. Then delivered them to the construction zone and assembled them in such a sturdy way...on top of each other...that they stood the test of time and the barrage of two millenniums of weather, to remain what we see today.
Then my mind latched onto next year's end of the world prophecies. My thoughts wandered far deeper than ever before. I considered, what would happen if the earth indeed was destroyed by such a cataclysm that it took twenty-thousand years for civilization to rebound to our current level of sophistication?
My mind's eye took me back to Brigantine Beach. I envisioned a future generation of archaeologists rummaging through the desert wastelands of the former, ocean front property. Suddenly a college intern gasped. Buried in the cement-like sand, a tiny bit of a bigger, smooth, fluorescent amber object glistens in the sunshine.
Workers chisel around the area, toss aside clumps of earth and brush away finer particles. When the dimensions were clear, an ancient representation of a smiling sun, forged from a baffling foreign material is fully visible. Experts are certain that this bauble is the personification of a beneficent God. But the greater enlightenment is that this detailed artisan's rendering proves that an advanced culture once inhabited the Earth. Within months, this five by five foot area will be fully excavated.
Scientists will win awards by linking this find to the evolution of mankind. But a lifetime of intense research won't give them a definitive answer of how the toys got there or their purpose.
Astronomers plot the formation and find similarities with the constellations in the night sky. Archaeologists refer to the earthworks as being surrounded by a semi-circular set of blue, red and green beveled pillars, (fatter at the bottom that taper to a flat top). In two places, facsimiles of boats straddle the top of the pillars. Other odd-shaped objects suggest to anthropologists a spiritual overtone. These questions will be studied for another hundred years without a meaningful conclusion made.
Meanwhile, this Stonehenge of Brigantine will be measured, the data fed into computers and no satisfactory explanation for the non-biodegradable, shiny, smooth material dubbed, "plastique" will be reached. It will never be found again in nature or artificially replicated in a laboratory. However a small faction of kooks, believe the descendant of Eric von Doniken. To hype-up his latest book...he theorizes that extraterrestrials manufactured this substance on their planet when in 2012, they wiped-out 99.9% of all earthlings, eons ago.