The Autumn of the Middle AgesNo one can see the road. What we know of it -- that it is broad and flat -- is gathered by deduction, or -- that it is hard, unpaved -- by the experience of feet. Other things are known without knowing: no one speaks, or stays the measure of his tread, for fear of faltering and falling beneath the measureless determination of those behind: each searches the ranks before for the symptomatic shiver, the fatal disruption which might entangle and engulf those who follow, follow, follow.... All who must, adjust unthinkingly the mechanics of knees and elbows to allow for occassional changes in elevation and texture, signalling the treacherous presence of whatever remains, counting on time to erode the clinging bits of viscera and flesh from unexamined feet. Sometimes, a voice proclaims, from some distance, a known destination. Sometimes, there is screaming, breathless and keen, or sobbing, like a prayer. Neither lasts. Sooner or later, for want of concentration, the voice is dragged down, or trips, and subsides, squelching, into the rhythm of the unseen road, and the monotonous perpetuation of feet in procession.