In the previous article I reflected about our brethren who lived and worked in Masonry many hundreds of years ago, and what it would have been like to live at that time—a time when there was not much daily pressure, as we know it, and a time when there was operative Masonry, not speculative.
I now go back through time and put myself there. Being just raised to Master Mason, I feel I could find work in Egypt, Rome, Venice, Athens, Jerusalem, the Isle of Rhodes, and many other places. As a Master Mason I could work on colossea, aqueducts, fountains, or statues. I like Venice, but will select Jerusalem so I can work on the Temple of Solomon.
Most noticeable in going back in time is the few people that are there and the way they live. The population has not expanded; the industrial revolution is hundreds of years away, so there is no electricity or other inventions and pleasures that go with the industrial age. There are few really solid homes—mostly tents inside and outside the walls of the city. Everywhere during the day there is lots of dust and smoke from the household fires; look at all the camels and donkeys—such filthy beasts! There is no indoor plumbing and running water. When I ask where something is—this or that—the people don’t know what I am talking about, as though I were speaking a foreign language. I can understand that. If they only knew what their descendants will have in the future.
It’s about 5:00 in the morning, just before sunrise; there are no electric lights, so I will have to rub sticks together or use flint to get a flame to light the oil lamp. No alarm clock; the rooster is sick. No shaving or showering at home, and no coffee at the office. No freeway to tie up traffic, that’s a relief. I live about a half mile outside the city, where there is a beautiful view of the valleys and hillsides, but it’s such an ordeal getting from the suburbs since public transportation doesn’t run by my tent.
But now, becoming a Master Mason, I will be able to afford a house inside the walls of the city and move out of the family tent, where all the aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers and their children live. Just think, we will be able to move to the safety of a house inside the city walls, a house of our own where my mother and father, my wife’s mother and father, and our four children will live.
The white rock for the house came from the local quarry. The house will have a courtyard and oval fire kiln for baking our bread. It will also have a kitchen and one other room; such luxury—all my hard work seems to be paying off. My wife is now preparing my lunch; she has taken some bread and formed it into a pocket, and is filling it with small pieces of lamb, corn, dates and walnuts. She spices it with some wine, pepper, oregano, rose petals, and saffron. I have just gathered together my tools: square, compass, level, setting maul, and straight edge. Now off to work.
As I enter the city the gate is open and as usual guards are stationed at the entrance watching the crowd. This is interesting; there is now an Avis rent–a-camel station by the South gate; they will give Hertz’ donkey and horses a run for the developing travel business. Maybe in a few years I will be able to afford a used camel or donkey. As I move through the narrow streets, I see so many new bazaars. Caravans from China, Turkey, India and Greece crowd the streets, not to mention the imports from Japan.
I am now walking down the Via Dolorosa where the stones making up the walkway are so large (about 2’ by 3’) and they are so clean. Just think: in future years every time the city is ransacked and destroyed and then rebuilt there will be another 10 feet of sand, dirt, dust, bricks, burned wood, and other rubble on top of this walkway—where I now stand. All that future historians will have to do is to dig down; every 10 feet down will be another civilization. Many artifacts will be intact, recording which group of people occupied the city and showing how we lived, what we ate, and what we did.
I am now joining the workmen as we come close to the Temple. Rounding the corner—yes, there it is. It’s not completed but it is beautiful and should last for thousands years.
I ran out of time again so it looks like it will be the next issue before I get to work and finish this voyage through time.
Henry T. Dosdorian, Jr., P.M