The very next day, the garden was covered with a very fine layer of snow covering everything. The most beautiful flowers and the largest plants were all covered in white, giving everything a “frozen in time” appearance. The house inhabitants had never seen snow, so when the first workers saw it that morning, they didn’t really know what to think. The low temperatures that winter were something they had never seen either so it was a very particular season for everyone.
The first person to see the garden covered in snow was Mrs. Ross, the cook of the house. She had been living there for so many years but had never seen anything quite like that. She was so surprised that breakfast that morning was not ready on time and some people and the family had to wait or go hungry for a couple of extra hours.
As curious as everyone was for what was happening, every person coming late to work, showing up minutes later for a date or simply not coming because they had seen snow, were all excused as if it was the most normal thing. The snowfall lasted for about a week and then it disappeared. People were very disappointed when snow melted and everything they had thought was so magical was now covered in this very thick layer of mud that was nowhere near as attractive as snow. People returned to their normal lives and the winter experience was soon a thing of stories.
The house were the garden had been covered suffered severe transformations between the first snowfall ever and the following one, which took place fifty years later. Some of the people that had seen it the first time as kids were still alive and they didn’t get tired of telling the story once and again, as if people were not living through it. It was possibly because of the excitement and because not a lot of things happened around there.
The garden of the house was still there but the place was no longer a private place. It had been converted not so long ago into a museum after the family that had lived there for generations had decided to sell to the best bidder because every single part of their business, now related to the technology industry, was located nowadays in the city and having such a grand state in the countryside was very expensive to maintain.
So the building had become a place where people could learn about the past but also where they could remember and experience in a very special way the two times snow had fallen in the region. There were pictures and poems and various others artistic manifestations, remembering what had happened in a variety of ways.
There was even a picture of the cook that had been the first one to see snow. Her descendants came for the opening day of the museum and were very happy to see their relative love forever in such a fabulous space. More pictures, drawings and so on were placed all over the house, which had been decorated in a way it had never probably been decorated before. The museum had disguised the house as something it wasn’t, trying to get more and more people to come and enjoy the place.
Soon, that wasn’t enough so they had to integrate the various areas surrounding the house, in other words the rest of the state that was still being exploited by a private company. Some parts of the land were used to grow various organic vegetables and others had fruit with the largest portion been dedicated to grapes and a small processing plant where the best grapes were chosen to be sent to another place where they were turned into a very decent wine. It wasn’t the best but it wasn’t bad either.
The people who ran the museum decided to make it all part of the daily walks around the house. They wanted to show the visitors how farming worked in the region so they also created a small petting zoo and worked with a foreign company in order to use the grapes in the farm to make their own brand of wine. Of course, the first few bottles wouldn’t be very good but with time they could end up having one of the best products because of the experts they were hiring to ensure that everything was as good as it could be.
People really enjoyed the new additions to the museum. Now it was a more complete experience and many visitors didn’t even care to enter the museum, the enjoyed themselves thoroughly in the fields and with the animals. Various vegetables and fruits were added to the crop selection and the wine started being sold to supermarkets in the city with a very special sticker that invited everyone to witness the creation process of the beverage.
That proved to be a very good move and visits increased once again. The bad thing was that the museum was not being visited as much as it had been before. The situation was so bad for the house as it was that they decided to make it a free entrance if you cared to buy a pass for all the rest of the attraction in the state. That helped the snowfall story become well known once again.
The place was renamed Snowfall Fun Park and they dedicated themselves to find new ways to attract more customers each year. After the name change, they were able to convert a small yard that had only been used for maintenance into a small food court selling various foods from around the world. The place was packed daily.
The biggest news coming from the park was the announcement that they had bought the whole neighboring terrain, which was almost as large as the one they were operating in currently. They would use all that land to build an area for rides and overall entertainment. Every single thing would be themed around snow and winter sports. The main attraction would be a huge roller coaster named the Yeti, which had almost no relation with the region except for the fact that those fantastic creatures allegedly lived in the snow.
The construction of that area was halted when they discovered some bones and rock alignments that seemed to be very interesting to the scientific community. As it turns out, it had been forgotten that the area had been the place for the old homes of the main house workers were located. The famous cook had lived right there and it was her bones that the machines almost crushed to dust.
When her DNA was picked up from them, traditionalists in the region were appalled that such a beloved person would have been died in a place no one knew about and now they had discovered she had never been properly buried anywhere. Many signed a petition to have her remains be buried in the garden of the main house, as a gesture of respect to her legacy and the lives of all the other workers and farmers of the region. After all, she had been a very humble woman, not wealthy or anything like that.
Some even argued that the remains of the houses should not be moved and should be integrated in the project, in order to bring back the main interest why people would go to that place. The company that operated the park was at first very reluctant to make any changes because of the investors but they eventually saw a way they could win with it.
The excavations of the remains of the houses were left alone. The design of the roller coaster was changed in order to not have any negative effects over any of the older structures in the park. Every other building stayed the same as in the original expansion plans except for an area where they would have meet and greets with actual farmers and have classes for interested visitors. That was moved to the farm area in order to surround the exaction area with a low fence and feature it as an attraction.
Five years later, the third snowfall was registered in the region. It had been so many years since the last one that people were happy to have their museum in order to remember the story. Parties and festivals were organized and the legacy of a single moment in history kept on living on the minds and hearts of the people.
martes, 30 de agosto de 2016
jueves, 19 de mayo de 2016
It had been discovered in a field, only some months ago, by a farmer named Enrico who had been plowing the ground in order to expand his carrot crop. He had been doing it manually instead than with a machine because he was testing the new piece of land he had bought. It was something of a lucky decision. If he had used any big machinery, he would have destroyed hundreds or maybe thousands of years of history.
Enrico cleaned the shield with care, only using his hands. The state of the piece was amazing: drawings could still be seen on it, as well as some marking done by the edge. The farmer called the museum in Florence and they came to pick up the piece in a matter of hours. They also decided to ask Enrico if they could check his land for more objects and he agreed. He wasn’t going to use all the new land just yet, so the archaeologists could do whatever they wanted where he had found the shield.
The object was put in a Styrofoam casing and transported to the city, to Florence, where experts would check its state and would determine where it came from, what it was exactly and when it had been used. Every single test available was going to be done to the shield because that’s what they did with every single piece that they recuperated. They would also clean it thoroughly, and put it somewhere in the vast collection of the Museum of Archaeology of Florence.
The testing began at the same time a small team of people arrived at Enrico’s land. It lasted for several days, time in which many other objects were discovered in the dirt: there was a chest protection with the leather strap still attached to it, a golden ring made of gold and a dagger with an amethyst in the middle. They were very well conserved and the people that had unearthed them were really glad they hadn’t been affected by centuries of rain and earthquakes and all other natural phenomenon that affected the region.
In the museum, they determined that the objects came from the times of the Roman Empire. By past data, they knew there was no city where the objects were found, so it had to be a camping site or a battleground of sorts. The objects appeared to be related somehow: the chest protector and the shield were used commonly by soldiers or even gladiators. The dagger also fit in there nicely. But the ring was the one thing that seemed out of place.
No gold mines had ever existed in the region. And even if it had been made in another territory, only rich men and women were able to have such nice things. But not a soldier and that’s what the rest of the objects were suggesting the owner was: a simple soldier, maybe battling an enemy or just camping by a forest. The excavation of the site was ongoing.
After restoration, every single one of the four objects looked as it had just been made. It was amazing. Some thought the dirt of the place they had found them all in was very special and capable of changing without deteriorating any type of material. The leather, for example, was moldy and about to break in some parts. But it was cleaned with care and then it looked almost new. The museum was expecting to find more objects in the area before organizing a special exhibition for the pieces.
Almost six months after Enrico had found the shield, a group of college students that helped in the excavations, found another dagger and two skulls. The rest of the skeletons were discovered in the following days. It was amazing for every single person involved because the place was telling a story and it was telling it slowly, with mystery and even a little bit of drama.
The skeletons were not complete but most of the bones had been recovered. They were reconstructed in separate tables in the museum and the bones were cleaned carefully in order to do a full testing of every single one of them. They also cleaned the second dagger found, this one missing the jewel that should have been right in the middle. It was impossible to know if it had been an amethyst or not. Maybe that was a small secret that the ground would choose not to disclose.
When the skeletons were finally reorganized and tested, it had been determined that both bodies had been man, probably in their late thirties. One of them was missing at least three teeth. The other one had week bone structure in one of his arms. Both, however, had evidence of having being stabbed in the chest, probably causing their deaths. The entry of the daggers had been so violent, they had almost sawed some of the rib bones.
What was strange was the fact that the daggers had been extracted after the first and, probably, only blow. Maybe they had been fighting alone, away from the main conflict and they had just realized they were exactly the same strength, they realized they weren’t going to be able to overcome the other one so they decided to go for the daggers and each had stabbed the other in the same way. Maybe it was a way of dying honorably… It seemed odd anyway.
The skeletons were also introduced in the plan for an exhibition and the city of Florence had decided to go ahead and organized, even if the amount of objects was not as abundant as it would have been desirable. They trusted new discoveries to be made in the time they would take to organize everything. And they did right.
Just before the excavation site turned one year old, a young archeologist name Camilla discovered the remains of two sets of sandals, as well as a leather pouch filled with coins. Inside the pouch, which was not as well conserved as the rest of the objects, was also a key that had a very small inscription in Latin.
The first person to see the key, besides the young woman, was an expert in the museum that was very well versed in the language of Ancient Rome. And he was very amazed to realize what the key said: VOBIS IN PERPETUUM, which means “yours forever”. The key and the coins were, as predicted, of the same time that the bones and the rest of the objects. The story had turned much more interesting. What did that key open and why the inscription?
The excavation went on for another six months but nothing else was discovered in there. It was as if those two men had been alone, very far from any other group of people, maybe sharing the money they had in order to go somewhere else. Many experts investigated old maps and discoveries made all over Tuscany and realized there was an ancient road that passed near the site and served merchant that wanted to take their good from the coast and back. So maybe the two men had been looking for a way to go there, to the coast.
Others thought they were actually going to Florence, or Florentia as the romans called it. Some even dared to say that the two men had no intention of moving anywhere. Maybe they didn’t even know what their next step was. Anyway, none of that gave light about what the inscription in the key meant and why they had stabbed each other to death, presumably.
The museum exhibition took place almost two full years after the first remains had been found. The excavation site was closed but the farmer never used it, deciding to excavate himself from time to time, as a hobby. The exhibition was complemented with other objects of the time, in order to illustrate the era and the way people lived. But at the center of it all, there was a big class casing with the skeletons lying there and even animated versions of how the two men would have looked like.
The key was put in a casing above the bodies. The small object appeared to float over them and the inscription was written all over the walls and the exhibition asked every visitor to give their interpretation of the words. Maybe they would see something the experts had not seen. Maybe new fresh minds would be necessary to resolve a mystery of one thousand years. Or maybe, just maybe, some things deserved to be kept secret forever.