Stepped sides, block over block, instantaneous vertical then a flat rest then another effort skyward. Psychologically, existentially not a gradual steady slope. So the dominant sensation from the architecture at Tikal is of gathering one’s will and strength, a pause and then heaving lunging longing to the next height. Angular to the jungle’s exaggerated organic, ascension by artifice in a place of nature, a claim that we are not just animal but also something else that can shape perpendiculars in stone.

It hardly matters whether the claim is true.