The dreamer was in a wild mountain region where he found contiguous layers of triassic rock. He loosened the slabs and discovered to his boundless astonishment that they had human heads on them in low relief.
—Reported by C. G. Jung in Psyche and Symbol, 295
Triassic rock…there is a lot to think about in that alone. This great mountain region in which the memory of an era flanked by mass extinctions has been exposed. That they are contiguous is important, they have been brought up intact from this distant time, preserving their nearness to it.
The astonishment is obvious, but I wonder if I shouldn’t dwell with it, too. These are not remnants of a fossil human, not remnants of a humanity before our own understanding of them. These are the ideas of humans before humans. They are in low relief, not fully formed in three dimensions, suggested only. This is Lovecraft country, where a Great Race may record in its stones the dreams of a people who are yet to be.
Between these other intelligences who carve, who lived contiguous with their own world, and the reality with which I am contiguous, there is a flash of astonishment that joins us one to the other. I am here, they are there, but between us some mystery across which we face each other. Though these sculptors have no face for me, they give to me the faces of my time.
My hands upon the works of their hands.
But beneath that astonishment is a great gulf that we cannot cross. While they dream of me and my fellows, I do not dream so easily of them. Even dreaming, we touch only over the span of millenia, over the remnants of what they have left behind.
Here the great wild mountains loom, here these moments are precious and disparate, here these buried treasures rise but without context. This dream does not satisfy but astonishes.
I want to tell a story, I can’t help but start to tell a story, but the astonishment remembered, the mountains rising high, make the story small, a treasure I can share with those who crawl through these great mountains with me, but not one equal to the astonishment and majesty.
I can tell you a story, doctor, but it is for you and not the great mountains.