We saw Stonehenge!
(Please click on link to view short animation)
It was cool to finally see this place that has been on my radar since… probably since I myself was a high school student. It seems to be in my long term bucket-list… But at the very least, ever since I began teaching earth science at Alisal high. I remember staring at the photo in -i believe it was chapter 18 of the text, where the topic covers some early style rock structures and goes into Astronomy- and just loving the symbology of it. It had always been an icon of the far-away, the unknown, the lives of peoples gone before, primitive yet amazing, and just plain old incredible. Stonehenge, after all, is this mysterious place that still we can’t be certain what it was for, although the guess that it was used in pagan rituals and lines up perfectly with the sun only at the solstices, well, that’s just downright incredible to me.
So we saw it.
And I don’t know why I was surprised about this, but there were a TON OF PEOPLE. Holy shit. Really? You mean, other people come by the bus load to see Stonehenge too? And then, it was a solemn reminder…
Just as a high-school and undergrad student going to our amazing National Park Yosemite back in California, we often worked our trips around when the crowds wouldn’t be there, the bus loads of European tourists-or our own American tourists!- and we’d know that in the height of the tourist season we would just avoid the valley or we would not try to be in the busier areas.
So it seemed with Stonehenge. The gentleman who helped us said that on the busier days they get 10,000 visitors. Pardon? We thought he must have meant per week, or something more reasonable sounding. No. He said 10,000 visitors a DAY. On their busy days. Imagine my surprise. Really, they are quite smart about making the space we can walk around it so far away. That way we all can get photos of it without getting other people in it if we so choose, which most of us do. But don’t be fooled by my photos of the place, which look amazing, regal, sacred, and solitary. There were dozens of others standing nearby taking their own photos just like mine!
At the very least, I now know Stonehenge. At least, one aspect of it. It was awesome to see in person. I spent my time imagining the people who erected this distinct circle of stones so heavy and far away from anywhere that they could have been mindlessly hauled over. I mean, this was a very premeditated and well-thought out construction site. It is a holy place.