I’m told that June 26’s post wasn’t my first experience with the New Age at West Kennet. I don’t remember my first trip there, which was when I was five. My Da does though.
We went on a family trip one summer. I went running off and climbed up the barrow to look around. There’s not a lot to see from the top of the barrow apart from fields. There’s Silbury Hill, but when you’re five you don’t realise that hills aren’t meant to be perfect hill shapes. I did manage to find something interesting.
Whoever restored the site had given some thought to illumination. Long barrows are naturally dark places. In this case the concrete roof built into the site wouldn’t have helped. To solve this problem little skylights were fixed into the concrete. They were translucent, so you could see through them but from the inside they let a little light in. I was five, so I thought stamping on it might be a good idea.
It was a terrific idea.
The barrow was hollow, so I found that by stamping on the skylight I could make a big boom noise. For a five year old this is the a discovery as exciting as finding a new planet or a new continent. So I stamped and I stamped. Boom. Boom. Boom. My Da came up to see what trouble I was getting into*. He saw what I was doing and, being a responsible parent, told me to stop it. Being curious he then had a stamp himself. I took that as a signal that I could stamp too and we got quite a rhythm going. We carried on doing this until my da was distracted by some people leaving the barrow. They were plainly stoned, but nonetheless also terribly excited. He caught the word “heartbeat”.
This doesn’t mean that all mystical experiences in barrows are fake, but if you’re an ardent believer of paranormal stuff it’s useful to remember it’s not just the truth that’s out there. I am too.
*the thought that I was half a mile from anywhere and therefore couldn’t get into trouble never crossed his mind.Google+