Apologies, dear blog readers, for stretching the meaning of this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: LETTERS.
On The Daily Post site, the instructions are: Share “a snapshot of how we communicate with one another, even if we don’t speak the same language.”
Stonehenge, which self visited yesterday, is a heartstopping monument. The stone pillars meant something to the early Britons. What, we still don’t understand. But just because we don’t know or don’t understand doesn’t mean we can’t recognize the power. The power of the natural. The power of the Not-Speaking.
The Approach to Stonehenge. Is. Across. A. Sheep. Meadow. Please. A heart-stopping sight.
Around the monument are meadows. On which graze herds of shaggy sheep. And self knows that numbers are not letters (duh), but numbers, too, are a form of communication. In this case, they signify ownership. Someone owns these sheep. And this is Sheep # 925’s 15 Minutes of Fame.
Flocks of sheep surround the monument.
The stones speak so powerfully to Pat Shelley (pictured below) that he leads small-group tours there year-round (except for a few weeks off here and there).
The language isn’t just in the stones themselves, but in the site: the absence of what Shelley called “human garbage” or detritus means that the land here was not close to a human habitation. Archaeology is the study of sifting through the various human waste of centuries. As an archaeological site, therefore, Stonehenge is amazingly pristine. It was meant for the one purpose only — what, no one knows for certain. But the land is full of clues: barrows, henges, places where the meadow grass grows thicker than in other places. The land must have been sacred to this people once.
If you join Mr. Shelley’s small-group tour, be prepared for loads of walking. But self is convinced that the only way to approach the site is to experience it: to walk and look at the chalk-y ground, to sight hills and barrows, to view the monument from afar, in freezing wind. And, only then, approach.
The landscape was shaped in the long-ago time. Here the land, too, is a kind of language.
Pat Shelley, who led the tour.
There is a Visitors Center, which is completely redundant. Who wants to look at pictures of Stonehenge when the thing itself is just outside?
What self finds so powerful about the monument is that we still don’t speak the language, but we relate to the emotions. Can you imagine what the people must have felt, after they positioned the stones? And this was without the benefit of cranes or lifts or diggers or what-have-you. The enormity of the physical effort involved — it’s simply astonishing.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.