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by Michael Boyink/Managing Editor

“We don’t know.”

There are times when those three words can strike fear into the heart of even the most stalwart.               

But there other times when they are my most favorite words.

We’re an advanced society. 

We explore the deep ocean. We put convertibles into space. We retrofit humans with artificial limbs.  

It can make us arrogant.

It can lead us to thinking we know it all. And can find it all with a Google search.

And yet, there are things we don’t know.

There are sand dunes that sing. Rocks that ring. Trees that grow crooked. Rivers that disappear into the earth.


We don’t know. 

And I love that. 

I love that the universe still has mysteries for us to unravel. That we aren’t so advanced as to know everything. That no matter how smart of person either you are or you meet, there is an end to their knowledge. 

The news this week had another “we don’t know” story.

A shining silver monolith was discovered in the Red Rock desert of Utah.

It was triangular in shape. 10-12 feet tall. Just sticking up from the ground – looking for all the world like a supersized stick of chewing gum with a silver wrapper on it. 

And yes, if you are thinking “2001: A Space Odyssey” right now you are spot on. Just shiny silver rather than black. 

Utah’s monolith was spotted by workers counting sheep from a helicopter. 

And no one knew who put it there.

Or why.

Various artists have been suggested. Aliens have been suggested.

But no one is taking credit.

It’s a mystery.

What didn’t remain a mystery was the location of the monolith. While its exact location wasn’t announced by the Utah Department of Security, the story caught the interest of internet users looking for a fresh diversion in a lockdown world.

Using Google Earth and photos posted to social media by the Utah DPS, it wasn’t long until a user posted the location of the monolith.

Apparently the monolith had been in that spot since October of 2016.

But once its location was made public, the inevitable happened.

People flooded to the remote desert location, parking randomly alongside a rustic road, and bushwhacking their own path to the monolith.

Government bureaucrats  reminded the public that putting art installations in random places on public land was both a threat to the environment and illegal “no matter what planet you are from.”

48 hours later, after a brief period of being in the social media limelight, the monolith had been removed by four unidentified men, calling it “litter” and “out of place in a pristine and sensitive environment.”

We just can’t have nice things.

But maybe the Romanians can.

Because another monolith just popped up there. In the city of Piatra Neamt.

No one knows where that one came from either.

We’ll see how long it lasts.

Started in the 1940’s, The Snoop is the Douglas County Herald’s editorial opinion column.