Albion, ancient sites, sacred sites, Stuart France

Stone of the Night…

*

You are a passenger…

You stay under glass…

You are driven through the city’s ripped back-sides.

You leave the city’s ripped back-sides on a road which snakes through low, rough, foothills.

Far on the horizon a solitary fin-shaped peak rises into view.

The motor vehicle which carries you pulls into a lay-by,

its rubber tires scrunching on the smattering of snow and grit.

You leave the vehicle, stepping out into the cold, frosty morning.

The air is initially painful in your lungs: you expel clouds of warm steam from them

like a subdued dragon.

You are no longer under glass…

*

You make your way to the end of the lay-by.

Your sturdy walking boots call scrunching sounds from the tarmac with each step.

A frosted grassy-knoll rises before you.

The freezing temperatures have rendered footholds in what otherwise would be only scramble mud.

You climb its offered face without need of the silvery tussocks of grass on either side

and as you crest its rise the first panorama opens before your gaze.

*

The cold wind now pinches your cheeks, a reminder that you are approaching the High Moors.

To your left a huge escarpment meets its end with a stone face seemingly etched into its profile.

Its stern stare appraises your longed for destination, below its millennia old lookout,

which is yet hidden from your sight by a small wood of fern trees.

*

You stride forward following the line of the escarpment until it is swallowed by the trees

and you start to lose height…

*

…As the ferns thin you spy a wooden stile up ahead

and descend the grassy-knoll rather too quickly for the conditions underfoot,

trotting to the stile side, precariously, and resting awhile to catch your breath.

*

A road runs to your right quite close to the stile with a stone bridge beyond,

under which you can hear water as it rushes and gurgles.

*

The thought of traffic impels you over the stile

and into what remains of the wooded slope which has taken you this far.

As you again begin to climb towards a moorland vista,

tree stumps and root systems lie exposed along either side of your path,

resembling swarthy, grinning, woodland faces,

which seem to claim a more intimate knowledge of your terrain than you can.

*

You continue your climb and leave the cover of the trees completely.

Again unsheltered you are met by another, now invigorating, blast of cold air.

Far to your left, the stone face watches serenely.

Far to your right the shark-fin peak

is hidden by the slopes of two hills which form a classic v-shaped valley.

Before you rises a steep sided plateaux which holds the object of your quest.

You know you can go left or right to reach the top of the plateaux

but a point mid-way along the false horizon draws your attention.

*

From  your vantage it looks like a pointed stone

and leading up to it though the seasonally ravaged remnant of the bracken

runs something resembling a path.

You head for the rudimentary path and set off along it towards the pointed stone…

*

…After a longer than expected climb up the steeper than anticipated side of the plateaux,

you are finally within appraisal distance of the pointed stone.

Its presence, which now looms towards you, defining the false horizon,

seems to demand that you stop for a space, the better to take in its form,

and as you are, in any case, grateful for the pause and a breather, you do so.

‘Oh look, it’s a Raven-Stone!” you say to yourself.

*

Sure enough, looking right, the fault lines of the stone form a raven’s beak

and an eye, and upon closer inspection there is a small indentation in the base of the stone

which could be representative of a feathered shoulder.

As the possibility that this stone was deliberately placed

begins to sink into your consciousness you start to look for other possible images

in its apparently un-hewn surface.

*

Looking left there appears to be a more anthropomorphic profile

and again a vaguely unsettling ramification starts to weigh upon your consciousness,

‘Stone of the Raven-God,’ says the voice that earlier you took to be your own.

‘Bran…’ comes the response which this time could very well be yours.

*

As if summoned, by your inner voicing, a black-form arrows towards you

from out of the depths of the white sky and settles upon the point of the stone.

“Cru-aaach… Cru-aaach…” says Raven, preening, and hopping along the top of the stone.

*