Journey (Helena)

By Helena

The coned-off entrance in the darkness of night gave off a feeling of foreboding, but a security guard appeared and moved the offending orange witches’ hats so we could enter and park. I parked as close as politeness permitted to the security hut, feeling small in the desolate gloom of the night on this open landscape alien to a girl brought up in hills and dales.

Our breaths hung in the cold air as I hugged my two-year-old wrapped in a blanket closer, we began the short walk through the visitor centre to our destination. In the light of day the historic scenes adorning the tunnel we walked through were probably educational and entertaining but at five in the morning they were tied, crumbling and a little silly looking, we giggled, our daughters eyes sparkling with curiosity hunting for the source of the joke.

Exiting the tunnel our goal was in sight, ground fog rolled round, the air now silver with the anticipated light of day edging its way slowly across the globe, creeping ever closer to us. A second security guard informed us we could leave the path, go anywhere but not allowed to touch, the smile on his face expressed his knowledge that this was not a rule he expected us to keep. We left the path and set out across the glistening wet grass. The cold had made our cheeks glow red; or was it the mounting excitement?

Our feet were landing where thousands have before, some with purpose, some with reverence, mine with a dream about to be realised. Standing in the centre surrounded by such history, mystery and romance, I reached out my hand to touch. Something inside me did a flip of disbelief, in the cold of the morning with our breath vaporised in the air in front of us, these stones were warm. We lay our hands more fully on them and marvelled at this unexpected strangeness.

My husband laid his hand gently on my shoulder to gain my attention, then guided me to the middle where we stood with our daughter and watched the miracle of a golden dawn in this most ancient of places.

(More about Helena)

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