Aw, I love the sheep in the last picture! He (or she, probably) looks so totally blissed out.
I like the idea of you acting as stone-circle guru for the day, too. I bet you did it brilliantly.
I love it how unfussed the management of Avebury is- the very reverse of what's developed at Stonehenge. People and sheep are allowed to wander about and mingle and do their own thing. No-one's watching you; no-one's making you conform.
I know a bit about the site- probably more than the official tour guide did.
I love the sheep photo too.
What's happened at Stonehenge?
The problem at Stonehenge is that nothing's happened.
The stones are still roped off, the facilities are a national disgrace and an ambitious plan to reroute the nearby road underground has just been shelved.
Wow... that is a terrible shame!!!
When the Worlds Fair came to Knoxville in the 1980s, I saw in the Chinese exhibit some of the stone horses and soldiers that had been unearthed in Chinese fields, and I was so transfixed by something numinous in the room that I really couldn't bring myself to leave for long moments, even though my family had moved on. I've never had that feeling before about inanimate objects.
Without being in the meadow where these standing stones are, I can't feel that charged air, but somehow I can well imagine it in that place.
Amazing that the lamb looks so peaceful.
(I am reading a book about snake handlers, an oral history of three local families who live in the hills not 100 miles away. I am juxtaposing their services, which, distilled to their essence, become shamanic in their super-conscious states, with the probable shamanic energies still in these fields, in the rocks. Fascinating. You said yesterday something about how stripping away the mystery may have been a mistake, and I agree: to overcome our earthbound muddy humanness, we need to somehow by some means reach beyond to the numinous, which I do believe is all around us always but hard to touch.)
I know what you mean, Jackie. I saw some of the Chinese terracotta warriors and other figures in London last December and was transfixed. They had the exhibit set up in such a way that you came around corners and were staring right at them.
You can see- from the first picture- how people feel impelled to touch the stones- to make some sort of connection.
The really huge stone in the second picture is known as The Devil's Seat. It has a sinister reputation. Minutes before I took the shot there was a young woman crouched in front of it, muttering or chanting to herself, performing some sort of private ritual.
The sheep weren't around when we visited Avebury nor were there as many people on a cold December's day. I'm sure you talked lots of sense to the Russian school girls. I'd have loved to have listened in.
Your pictures capture a spirit and not just a place.
The sheep were ushered into the field while I was wandering round it on Monday morning. I guess they act as inexpensive mowing machines.
Thank you so much for that compliment. I'm glad you think these pictures get under the surface. It's what I always aim to do.
You really got at the spirit of Avebury in these shots, I think. Lovely.
Did you sit in the Devil's Seat and hear the weird sound effects?
I'm afraid I didn't. If I'd known there were weird sound effects I might have done.
Sound becomes very muted but very clear. It's remarkable! I recommend you try it next time you're there.
The stones at Avebury (and West kennet --- same stuff) "sing" too; they vibrate sympathetically with any noise of the right tone, and the effects of singing or chanting near them can be quite astonishing. I felt at one point as though I was about to pitch forward onto my nose because the ground seemed to be shaking. It wasn't, though; the apparent shaking was the stones vibrating to a chant being sung. Wild stuff. I imagine it had tremendous effects, back in the day.
If we only lived a little closer I'd be back there this weekend.