Stonehenge – Monday 10th December
A huge military plane, some type of carrier, wheels across the horizon as we drive towards Stonehenge. Passing the new visitor centre we see one of the buildings has been shrink wrapped in gleaming white plastic.
It’s another chilly sunny day, perfect for drawing.
Mark is sitting, once again, by the guide rope in front of the great trilithon, his drawing board on his knees, silverpoint in hand. There are short bursts of tourists curious about the artist’s work, then periods of calm while we all await the next coach load.
There seem to be mainly South-east Asian visitors here today, everyone bundled up against the cold.
Siobhan is here, working her particular shaman magic on the site. The crows are busy flitting about the stone circle and protected inner area, the sheep determinedly munching in the protected outer area, the tourists actively photographing everything about them from the allowed area, the grass walkway.
Two Chinooks swoop and turn from the Cursus towards us, over the meadow and across the byway, the drama amplified by the heart-thumping base of the blades. It’s quite thrilling for a moment, but only I suspect because I know they’re safe. I imagine in a war zone they could be pretty daunting. Artillery fire persistently pops distantly through the air. The rehearsal for war is permanent.
A sweet retired aged couple come and sit on the edge of my bench. She’s distressed. Lost her purse. They’re going for another tour of the walkway to see if she dropped it but right now she’s having a bit of a panic. I sympathise. I recognise that brand of upset, half accusation half embarrassment. I hope she finds it. But it isn’t really the end of the world.
That’s supposed to be happening on the 21st of the month, the end date of the current cycle in the Mayan calendar. Apparently there will be ceremonies at Stonehenge on that day, as there will be at all the major sacred sites around the globe, coinciding with the date of the winter solstice.
I love the fact that Stonehenge is open for honouring all the significant pagan dates in the calendar and yet is closed for Christmas.
There’s an intriguing mix of open, liberal thought in operation here along with traditional Western/Christian management structures.
Some visitors ask Mark if he’ll take a photo for them but he has to decline since he’s lost all feeling in his hands. It’s time to leave for the day. Two hours is about our limit in these temperatures.
As we leave the car park, I see a 4×4 towing a large trailer arriving in the field with the sheep. The sheep gather around the vehicle, waiting for what? Food? New arrivals? Or transport out of here? Maybe the end of the world has come early.