Tuesday, December 29

Bluestones Sarsens Druids

This winter season my sister Marcia and her husband Art decided to take the opportunity to come to the United Kingdom to have a pre-Christmas celebration.

In their ten day whirl-wind tour we decided that going out to Stonehenge would be a brilliant idea for several reasons: a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, a much speculated yet indefinable place, rumours of strange goings-on, and it was December 20 (close enough to Winter Solstice to perhaps spy some modern day Druids).

Upon further investigations the London Walks group has special visits to Salisbury (including Cathedral) and Stonehenge for the solstice and equinox occasions. They are a group of professionals who walk you for 2 hours around London and stop at pre-determined places to tell you about the architecture, noteworthy people, history and stories of the city. Quite delightful and addictive. We joined their tour and had a fantastic day.

There are many theories why Stonehenge exists, one of many arranged groups of over-sized rocks around the UK. What makes these various stone piles interesting? The stone is not often not native to the area (Bluestones, Sarsens), they are gigantic and heavy, and organized in an intricate pattern. One can deduce that they have therefore been moved to this location by people, who used technology for movement, and arranged them according to their needs. By whom? How? For what? These are unanswered and highly speculative questions with no decisive answers.

I was most interested in our Guide's statement that the two of the stones form a window in which the setting sun peers through during the Winter Solstice.  An alignment of which the makers of Stonehenge were perfectly aware.  This I was going to see! The group disbanded for some free time and I walked towards a small bridge, then stood ready to test this alignment of the setting sun. The only place to poise oneself was on a small bridge linking two small ridges over a slight dip. The bridge was squished with other interested people, but we were all so captivated by the joy of nature and history that body parts touching each other did not concern us. The employees kept yelling, "There are too many people on the bridge!  Please take your pictures and move on so others can take one as well." I obeyed after taking 84 pictures. I was in the right spot as the sun began to set and I was not moving until I had captured the movement of that sun in the stone frame, surrounded by glorious colours. There it was, the sun slowly sinking into the earth right in between the two middle stones before it hit the horizon.

The sun then moved away from the centre of the stones and completely set 10 or so minutes later. Nature added a more beautiful sky by providing clouds in the landscape. Perhaps we can thank the three caravans of Druids already camped out, 36 hours before the actual solstice was to occur. An experience I am not likely to have again, but am glad that I had at least once.

1 comment:

  1. Talk about breathtaking photography! The sunset through the "window" is gorgeous!