The Weeping Wall

An audio uplink from excavator Kiernan Mumchance, transcribed here, was received on March 19 at 1837 hours:

“We finished unearthing the Wall a week ago. Now that’s ‘Wall’ with a capital W, the one Thero mentioned at the Sputnik 2 toast, and I think the color of it was mentioned elsewhere. (Why the keeper of the blog has to write about crap other than what we’re actually doing, I have no idea.)

“The Wall’s gigantic. Titanic. When you sit at its base and look up, you see that it has a slight curve to it. It’s convex. It has that color. We’re not sure what it’s made of, but it’s perfectly smooth, like plastic.

“We call it the Weeping Wall. We think it’s some kind of water-capturing system, useful in the desert here. Toward the end of the day, when the sun is about halfway down, all these water droplets start cascading down it, like it’s raining on it. It must be condensation. There’s so much that water trickles all over it. The Wall’s so high, it’s probably blocking the weather, too. The water goes into this little grate that stretches all along the base.

“I was very tired today, and sat at the foot of the Wall. No one else was around. The sun was low in the sky, a blue sky, and was sparkling off the waterdrops on the Wall and on puddles that had collected in the concrete blocks around its base. The sun was low, but not setting yet, still bright. The Wall blocks all wind, so everything was completely silent, except for the trickling of the water.

It was beautiful and peaceful, but … I got this overwhelming feeling. It felt like — I just felt so homesick. I don’t know — it was just the saddest thing in the world.

“Heliopoli makes you homesick, yeah. But … it doesn’t make you homesick for home. It makes you homesick for Heliopoli.

“It’s the most awful thing. How can it be like that? It’s the damnest thing. Is this what it’s like to sit at the base of the pyramids? You’re witness to this crazy exuberance that built the thing, but you’re completely cut off from what drove it. It’s not the how, but the why. All this effort. All this trying. All this longing. These buildings just loom over you, beautiful, but … empty.

“I sat there, unable to return to the others for a while.

“We named the wall after a David Bowie song, but for more than one reason.”