The Minuet

(3-14 May 1993) after Mary Mapes Dodge

Neanderthals danced the minuet; their costumes and violins didn’t make the fossil record. The Neanderthals sat around in the evening and discussed politics and religion. They developed the latest theories of economics and interpersonal communication. They solved the problems of production and the inefficiencies of distribution. They danced cheek to cheek. They had their jobs and their families and they led generally boring lives; they had their moments. They indulged in adolescent indiscretions and bet their farms on shady deals. Time is a slow-burning fire that either consumes us or we are unhappy. Souls ascend in the smoke and are forgotten. The crude stone and bone things that remain don’t begin to tell the story.