White Nights with Menhirs and Dolmens

It is in Puglia, southern Italy. Could be in Texas, same vegetation, could be in Mexico, similar food, could be Stonehenge: menhirs and dolmens are scattered among vineyards, next to beer-bars in the middle of nowhere, to mark the center of the world, the beginning of a civilization. It’s around Melpignano, a 2 200 inhabitant village where a White night Feast is held in July: music all night, words all about stars: with cosmonauts, science fiction writers, futurists, scientists.

An old man is sitting next to a menhir during the worst heat of the day after a thunderstorm, he tells us; the weather is not as it used to be. Nowadays we peasants hide in the dolmens for a siesta. A violent but short storm follows his prophetic words.

We enter a dolmen with our laptops and cell phones. I even get a free WiFi signal that the leftist mayor gives to his people. Under the dolmen big stone, in the midst of a retrofitted convent from 14th century, in a Greek restaurant, since orthodox people have been there before the Catholics fighting the Turks. Fallen empires among erect menhirs. Fallen over their own mistakes: fundamentalist wars. Even the menhirs have inscriptions of different religions of various conquerors.

As we establish a Skype connection to a cosmonaut, we sit among monoliths, with Saturn and Mars in conjunction in the misty sky. Internet is like a menhir. It is the center of the world and yet it is everywhere.

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