07 May 2010

Everybody Must Get Stone (Henged)

Tours in the 19th century provided a little hammer so you could chip off some Stonehenge to take home.
Yet when I tried it they got angry.

Stonehenge is one of those things that I read about as a little girl in the musty smelling Childcraft encyclopedias that lined the shelf in our living room. Paging through the books I was always most fascinated by the chapter about ancient structures - The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, The Collossus of Rome, the Pyramids, to name a few - and Stonehenge.

Stonehenge is 5000 years old, an impossibly long time ago, and while I always imagined robe-clad Druids lighting candles and acting overwrought about Solstice around the stones, it actually would have been Fred Flintstone caveman types (Druids came about 1000 years later) building and using them.

And what was Stonehenge even used for? Despite claims that it was a burial ground, a calendar and/or a sacrificial altar, no one is sure. It always gives me a weird feeling to be standing at an ancient site and realize that in all probability, no one ever will know...

My friend Joanna told me last week that despite her recommendation to visit, "its just some rocks in a field" and I spent the morning psyching myself up to prove her wrong - afterall, I had my childhood sense of wonder safely stored in my brain. I would find it magical and amazing and cathartic.
Who's got 2 thumbs and likes Stonehenge? This guy!

And then my first glimpse from the motorway was a bit anti-climactic - we were in a large coach and we were kind of taller than Stonehenge and yeah, I had that Spinal Tap moment. But once I gathered my audioguide and walked through the underpass from the entry way to the actual field I regained most off my awe. It was windy and cold and my hair whipped around my face, but I just kind of stood there for a moment with a dumb look on my face. "Look S." I said as I poked him. "There's Stonehenge."

Ultimately though, as Joanna predicted, there were only so many angles I could stare at before my brain was like "OK. Let's go. It's just rocks. I believe there is a sandwich back on the bus." However, I did turn around one more time to stop for five minutes and just reflect. As the hairs stood up on the back of my neck, I tried to imagine the hoards of literally pre-historic people lumbering around and erecting this mystery.

Cavemen, apparently? Not so dumb. Druids are still assholes, though.

Stonehenge ahem...rocks.


Brandon Muir said...

your blog titles make you sound like weird al. is this a good thing?

David L Macaulay said...

I've been there a couple of times and it always seems a bit disappointing in that it's smaller than you imagine and after a few minutes it's like. OK - what now?

Pat said...

I'd still like to see it. Your pictures are good. I saw "Stonefridge" in a dump in Santa Fe. It was refrigerators welded together in the shape of Stonehenge. It was cool. Obviously not as much as the real thing, but cool nonetheless!