On a rare day of sunshine, I drop by the British Museum to visit my old friend, The Rosetta Stone. I take a moment to absorb what mysterious vibrations could escape the thick glass enclosure from the ancient stone tablet of wonder. A loud, squeaky tour guide makes her way to the stone, drowning out the vibrations with her squeaky tour guide facts. I stand for as long as I dare, then plunge into the crowd huddling furiously around the glass, sprinkling “sorry’s” as I elbow-jab through.
Now wandering, I find myself drawn with a strange gravity toward the Africa room. All of the sudden, he is there.
His hollow stone eyes meet mine. He is glorious. I approach with reverence, oblivious to the other mortals buzzing around me, transfixed in his hollow stare.
His shoulders are slightly tilted, arms akimbo, hands tucked in as if in stone pockets, giving him an air of casual grandeur. Carvings of loopy things, tattoos of the birdman cult are all up and down his back.
He is an Easter Island man. I’ve recently read a book about catastrophic ends – Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive which featured the Easter Island statues. I can’t believe there’s one here in London!
I rush home to look up when the British Museum acquired my new friend. Apparently, it was many years ago.
He has been there all the while.
I wasn’t looking for Hoa Hokananai’a before, but after reading about him, he found me.
He is my hidden friend.
p.s. Dear readers, I apologise for not posting last week; I was on holiday in the Highlands with scanty internet. I’ll throw in a couple bonus posts this week to make up for it :). With love, G