Histories from the Mud

La Voz de Galicia – 24 de marzo, 2023 →

Cristina PatoPBS, the American public broadcaster, played a documentary about Lara Maiklem, a London «mudlark» who works along the shores of the river Thames. I believe I didn’t find a direct translantion in Galician for this word, but Cambridge Dictionary defines «mudlark» as «someone who searches the mud near rivers trying to find valuable or interesting objects.» The fact is that Maiklem’s passion fascinated me because I had never stopped to think in that way about the treasures that hide around us, and in the ability that many people have to see and value that which, for many of us, is invisible or useless. The protagonist made clear that she is not in search of treasures but in search of stories (because it is the «search of history» that makes a mudlark), and shared that her favorite find was a «a child’s shoe from the Tudor period, about 500 or 600 years old.» Her way of describing the shoe, and its an imprint of toes inside it, and the questions that the little shoe brings with it really made me think about the number of little stories everywhere that have not been told: in the junk seen around my neighborhood, in the books that people leave on the street, in the toys abandoned at the park around the corner…But I also thought about the houses in ruin of Galicia’s heartland, with those impossible tools that carry with them infinite hours of life, and those whose name we no longer learn. And I thought about the importance of knowing the value of things, and about the limited education we have about that. In the mud of the Thames, Lara Maiklem continues searching for «things lost and found more than two thousand years ago,» but I, in Galicia’s river Miño, wouldn’t even know what to look for.

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