Historical setting: Sixth Century Bordeaux
With sun high this site is finally ready for work. In the middle of it all is the crane-master who is spewing orders and counting the ropes for the day’s work. He gladly hires me to walk the tread-wheel. But now August is at his heels barking instructions for using the newly placed pullys and winches.
When the family came here with the wheel they also brought the iron pieces, the lifting claw and the ancient pulleys of oak and iron. August’s father was supposed to be the crane-master here. But he was stricken with an illness of age and not able to oversee the work. He was given a voice in hiring this new crane-master. So this little fellow is like a hollow copy of August, missing only the soul and the mind and a deep and hidden love for these brothers.
Shollo and Kairn are assigned the task of working the top of the wall because their father requested that; and now August is given orders by the annoyed, current crane-master to sit with the father and remain quiet. The brothers on top of the wall are cheering on the reprimand. I take my place on the treads inside the crane-wheel, while we await the other tread-man. Walking the treads doesn’t require construction skills so much as strength, so I would suppose at the end of the day when we receive our coins this treadman will receive the least. Maybe that is why the other treadman doesn’t mind keeping us all waiting here.
Now, seeing this crane from the inside, clearly it is a beautiful piece of carpentry finished even on the inside, as though it were to be a part of the building itself. It surely came from a different time and place. Any wheel is significant. It is a form that Romans and even some of the pagan tribes in these lands consider a sacred symbol of the turning of the seasons. So how is such an obvious pagan artifact also the essential tool used in building a place for Christian worship? Here four prongs of Pagan symbol are also the apses and aisles of the basilica itself. It is of course, also the sign of the cross. The Christians have used the wheel and they, or we, as I am one too, reconsidered it to become a Christian symbol. [footnote] And of course I’m one who sees the four prongs as the Roman torture tool on which my friend and teacher was crucified.
[footnote] Storl, Wolf D. The Untold History of Healing is a comprehensive patchwork of ancient remedies, religions, herbs, symbol, incantations…the use of the circle surrounding the cross as a pre-Christian symbol is explored on Page 54.
(Continues Thursday, April 1)