I can’t believe I’m actually sitting here, close to #5 and I am doing my typing. During the [long] walk from the car park I heard people talking about nettle and its different varieties, whether “he” cheated on Jackie, the quickest way to get to Paddington station from the visitors centre… and then something else in Japanese. And then Dutch. And a whole cacophony of other languages.
Plenty of people, here, and boy I don’t like that excruciatingly long row of movable green toilets right next to the stones, ready for tomorrow’s solstice. It’s 1.30 pm and Daphne (a silly-silly very loud little girl with long blonde hair and excruciatingly unaware parents) is running around - of course closer and closer to me while being louder and louder.
A ray of sun has just come out.
The big question that keeps on appearing is: why do I like all of this? Why do I like the idea of being here, with a backpack and my walking sticks that I now have learned where to fasten (!!!) while trying to understand what it must have felt for all the other people who came here not to take 755K pictures (tbh, me too…) but to worship. To worship. Does it make a difference where we are? I’m thinking : look at them and look at me, too. Sitting here with the laptop, as just another attraction… people looking at me probably thinking: can’t she have left work at home? Or maybe they are wondering if I am here writing a book! Me, and my hidden incense stick buried at the bottom of my backpack, stick I am not allowed to light. In this sacred place we can trample on top of each other, tutting because we cannot take the "perfect picture" and because people are in the way; kids run around like headless chickens, parents shout, police officers are on alert while looking excruciatingly bored. And I cannot light an incense stick.
Picture, picture, picture; click, click, click.
Now I have a German couple sitting next to me, talking aloud. Sitting on the same bench… ON the SAME fucking bench! What am I? A magnet? Anyway, do people, the visitors here, realise this is a spiritual place? Would they behave in the same way - loud, running around, intruding into others’ lives, not respecting any boundaries - if they were at the Taj Mahal?
[The guy looks at the pictures he just took
and says super super super
which sounds a bit like supper supper supper
and I am actually getting hungry…]
Oh, and here we have the fucking tiktokers : jumping and doing some silly dance - just fucking go!
This is allegedly a place full of energy. I am thinking of the concept of Shiva, Pagans, Neolithic populations, New Age, James Redfield and Graham Hancock, worship, devotion and magic… Inventions! I am wondering what the people at the time, thought. Were they also talking about nettle and its various varieties or if “he” cheated on Jackie?! Or would they have walked with their heads down, worried, praying... [Was there such a thing at the time, as praying? Or is it a modern invention?]. What were they thinking? Were they offering food, gold, little stones, carved figurines or whatever precious thing they had? Were they bothered by a Germanic couple sitting next to them or walking alongside? I am feeling a bit like Assurancetourix the Bard in Asterix and Obelix, the one whacked on the head and left alone on trees… I am the bard, the one recording the events.
At the same time, cold and desperate for a coffee. I should probably come here very early in the morning... --- off to Woodhenge, too, where, again, people think it appropriate to use it as a picnic ground, while drinking beers and smoking weed.
I am spending my second evening here, in my tent. A beer, laptop, and documentary on Gloria Steinham in the background and I am still reflecting on my experience of today, in this large place full of… gosh, so many souls who walked by and along and in-between. What do I want my legacy to be? If not stones, maybe learning to stay? Learning to connect? Learning to stop. Learning to notice. “We need to meet with all five senses more…” GS says, which I agree with, and “whatever we are doing, we are going to fuck up…” she adds. In my opinion, it is also true that we are living an "outer" life which runs parallel to a hidden, mysterious, magical, spiritual (as in made of spirit…) inner life and I find it incredible that some people have no desire to question any of that, that people are not intrigued by this other form of life, who have no curiosity, who ask themselves no questions; and who find it absolutely natural to access spiritual and energy-charged places with total disregard and disrespect. I am aware that I am still changing myself, and that there is not a definite me. The only common denominator I think is this idea of being free : this freedom to move, deciding not to be married, travelling, moving abroad; just free. This coupled with this idea of the "researcher" : but what does it mean to be a researcher? I understand the allure of research, but what is it that I am really looking for? This feels like an important question to ponder these days.
It's 11.14 pm and a van has just parked up, right next to me, complete with a crying kid… for fuck’s sake! Really?!
Before prepping for the night, I think again about all those stories, all those people falling in love, and being scared, all those feet that walked on this land before me; and those mothers! I saw a woman beautifully breastfeeding her baby, sitting there, on the grass and maybe this is all that matters in the end. They were breastfeeding 5,000 years ago as they are breastfeeding now. This, to me, not being a mother, means... what?
Dates : 20 JUN 2023
Journey : car : 181 miles
Steps : 9,479
Entrance : free as a NT member / pre-booked
Stonehenge Heritage Website HERE