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  • Writer's pictureCrone

Sacred Stones

So, to Scorhill.

I first came here during a weekend away from University. It was November, perhaps. Very cold, but bright. Then, again, a few years later in December. Since then, I had not been back.

Initially, as I walked out to the moor, I could not recall how to find them and set off in the wrong direction. They are about three quarters of a mile from the end of the road, where you can park. It was a relief to turn south and see them.

The place has a haunting feel.

That piece of granite reminds me of the famous painting with the skull that's out of perspective... The Ambassadors, by Hans Holbein.

The stones themselves are stark in a stark landscape, that's for sure.

The large stone is used by cattle as a scratching post. I love it that a Bronze Age monument has these more-than-human uses! Shelter and the relief of an itch.

I started to wonder at the lichen... could these organisms be almost as old as the monument itself?

Then I noticed strange stains... surely a type of lichen, not spilled blood??!!

I sat with my back to a stone and thought I might as well see if a stone could speak as well as a tree. You will be delighted to know that they can. Somewhat curmudgeonly, but not unfriendly.

ME: Can I ask you for wisdom?

STONE: What else do you think we're here for?

ME: Does it matter that some of you have fallen?

STONE: It didn't matter that we stood.

We talked a little of life and death. We talked a little of people and trees and the stone seemed to feel that having spoken to one person, he had spoken to all.

STONE: You're all connected, aren't you? All one? As we are? All the earth?

I tried to explain individuality, but he wasn't having it. Tried to explain politics, the democratic process, voting, personal beliefs. He was unmoved. Climate change? Extinction? He'd seen it all. Really, for stone, this is all a rigmarole. I tried to explain the trials and tribulations of life. "Huh," said the stone, "Try being igneous rock. You're basically melted in unimaginable heat in the innards of the earth and then shat out of a volcano. How's that for tribulations?"

Fair enough.

I could hear young corvids - thought they were ravens - and wanted to see them.

STONE: Do you want them to come over here?

ME: Yes.

The three birds flew over.

ME: I think they were crows not ravens.

STONE: [imagine a stone shrugging dismissively] What do you want me to do? Change their species? I brought them over, didn't I?

ME: [apologetic] Yes. Sorry. Thank you.

I'd recommend talking to stones. It can change your perspective.

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Atmospheric! ... I'm glad you and the rock conversed. (p.s. Do cattle roam in this vast landscape? You mentioned the scratching of itches.)


Yes, sheep and cows and ponies.

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