Ever since that movie, “Cave of Dreams”, the painters from that Paleolithic era watch me while I work – a painter myself, you understand. They dress in leather and fur and are in person ripe in modern terms, but smell doesn’t come across – only their murmuring and shifting shapes, usually five or six, and just a few occasional comments. Sometimes one of them will nudge another and they all laugh at once – a deep rumbling. They also watch me while I cook. I explain that animals are raised and slaughtered to be cut up and repackaged in plastic skin and they’re vaguely interested. I tell them metal weeps from rock in a great fire and then it’s pounded into knifes, and pots, and sinks and stuff and they believe me but don’t care to know more. They won’t come around at all when I watch TV. They say it’s all about zombies and I become a zombie, too, when I watch it. I can’t argue.
What they want to know about is painting, and they comment to themselves when I change colors or add some new feature. I explain that the colors I use aren’t much different from what they used, ground from elements they had found themselves plus a few others more difficult to get to, and finished out better, which they concede. As a binder I use polymer plastic instead of fat from the cooking fire, but it does pretty much the same thing. They don’t care for the bridges and overpasses but they get excited when I paint animals. They laughed and pointed at the longhorn, so similar to the cattle they knew – they understood it was real. We are just alike – humans who see each other across thirty thousand years.