Peter M Howard ::

Me and 20,000 other hippies

30Jun2005 [france]

Spent the night before the Summer Solstice (June 20-21) at Stonehenge. The only time in the year that you can actually touch the stones; and they had the largest crowd ever. I'd spent the day at Avebury, a small village built inside an old (massive) stone circle; the place was full of hippies. I decided then that I should go to Stonehenge. Still plenty of hippies, though being as it is there were quite a few (normal) young people too. We got up there soon after sunset, wandered up into the stone circle (in which there was a party happening) and eventually found a place to sit. Didn't move much from about 1am, it was too freezing to do so -- the wind on Salisbury Plains being a killer on the best days. Half-past-three the sky started lightening; soon after four all the warmth was sucked out of the air; quarter-to-five and we finally saw the rays of the Sun. Everybody cheered before marching home.

Though it sounds rather uneventful, it was an _amazing_ experience. Actually walking under some of the stones, watching people celebrate inside the circle, seeing immense crowds drawn towards the center, the shadows of the past came to life and I could feel even more the power of the place. The strangest thing about Stonehenge is the way it's been re-discovered and used in completely different ways by completely different cultures...

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