Saturday, May 29, 2010

On The Outside, Looking In

Salisbury, England.  Spring 2007.

It's just as windy here as it's been everyplace else in Salisbury.  There's a slight whistle as the air moves through the stones, blowing hard enough to pierce the fabrics of our jackets.  Sarah was the lone smarty of the group - she brought a hat.  I take my flimsy silk scarf and wrap it around my head and neck, wishing I had waited until after this trip to shave all my hair off.  Ah, well.  You live and you learn, I guess.

It doesn't look quite real.  I keep expecting the light to hit it at that special angle and it will start looking majestic, or inspire some awe.  Instead it looks like a movie set, like I could walk right up to it and knock it with my fingers and hear the dull thud of hollow fiberglass, of plaster over chicken wire.  Not that you're allowed to touch it - like so many other very old things there's absolutely no touching allowed, for it's own protection.  Nevermind that it's a great big block of rock.  Wouldn't want to get it smudgy.  (I know, I know.  Natural oils and vandalism remain the scourge of ancient history.)

(This picture always makes us laugh.  I can't not think of the "Stone Henge" scene in Spinal Tap every time I see it.)

On days when the sun shines I imagine the stones cast long shadows over the ground, maybe they'd even reach our feet standing so far away.  But it's overcast, as it has been so many other days in England, and the sun is high enough to throw short, stubby little shades close to the stone bases.  Not so impressive at mid-day, but I bet it's a remarkable sight when the sun rises and sets.

Apparently, there's a special pass you can buy for an evening tour that will let you walk in between the stones, but we're not on that ticket.  The bus is waiting for us, and we are so very grateful to get out of the wind.

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