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< check out the other entries in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.
not noble, just Dutch
Two Subjects – this ‘theme’ is more of a composition challenge: two subjects, both essential parts of the picture, and each has to contribute something differently to the photo.
My choice for Two Subjects is this photo, made last year. The location should be obvious: Stonehenge!
Other photos of this week’s challenge at WordPress.com
Would you believe me if I told you today is the shortest day of the year? YES! This dark cold freezing wet day is our ticket into spring my friends. SPRING. I can’t wait for the sun to grow stronger, to warm and caress us.
The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the winter solstice usually occurs on December 21 to 23 each year in the Northern Hemisphere, and June 20 to 23 in the Southern Hemisphere.
Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied from culture to culture, but most cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.
Right, it is time for celebrations.
I would like to introduce you to Katie Johnson, who is also celebrating Winter Solstice today. She does that in a very special way. Each day Katie publishes a photo she shoots herself. And each and every photo is a beauty, whether architecture, abstract, flowers, nature or animal. Of course I prefer nature and animals 😉
Let me show you an example:
Today’s photo is titled Happy Winter Solstice.
Katie Johnson is a professional photographer in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her website: Katie’s Camera Blog.
Happy Winter Solstice! Let’s celebrate this special day, made for us by nature. For free.
You have not changed
In the fleeting moment
Of thirty years…
Mighty Stonehenge… I first met you when I was a teenager. Majestic and silent you stood there, seemingly untouched by the elements while you ignored us mortals. Breathless I was, Ancient One. I stared at you and closed my eyes to draw your presence into my mind. And you responded! Your outlines were etched in my memory and your voice whispered in my ears. The call was too strong to be ignored. I jumped over the rope and ran towards you, to feel your vibrant stony flesh… The guard chased me away immediately, but I did not care. Because for just one second, I had been connected to you, mighty Stonehenge.
Who has built you all those thousands of years back? How did they lift you up, mould you to a perfect image? How come your position is still flawless after all these millennia, greeting the sun at midsummer sunrise and bidding her goodnight at midwinter sunset? Your circle has been broken, your purpose yet unknown. Still parts of you stand proudly, defying wind and storm, sunlight and rain, birds and men. You are of this world, yet part of an ancient age. Images of people long gone float between your pillars, the ground at your feet is layered with tokens of centuries upon centuries of life.
Stonehenge, you inflame my imagination. You are not just ‘a bunch of stones’. I do not see the destruction that time has wrought upon you, but the glory of what is, what was and what has ever been a place of deep ritual meaning, inspiration and awe.
A lot of time has passed since that day in the seventies. Back in 1986 the site and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. A wonderful and wise decision; this monument should be preserved and treasured for generations to come! Then august 2011 finally arrived: time for our vacation in the south of England. England, after all these years! My trip to London two years ago did not not really count. A faint echo stirred my memories, becoming stronger by the minute. There was no question about it: we would visit Stonehenge on our two-week bike tour! Expectations highly strung, we entered the county of Wiltshire and set course for The Stones.
It was still early in the morning, so the bus loads of tourists had not arrived yet. To my surprise a lot of things had changed. What was once simple and pure, now had turned into a commercial business, complete with snack corner and souvenir shop. No more crossing the dangerous road to get from the parking lot to the site, no. Two friendly attendants were ready to point visitors to a safe parking place. Now please empty your pockets? Thank you kindly. Amazingly enough we could park our Harley for free. Vman was OK with staying behind the fence that separates Stonehenge from the public road, but I wanted to go inside. Another cash deposit lighter I descended into the tunnel, skipped the audio instruction and almost ran towards the other side. About twenty others were following the route around the monument. Stonehenge was too far away to make another run without being caught by the two guards, who were watching the public like eagles on the hunt. Damn!
Slowly, very slowly, I walked on and circled Stonehenge, savouring every second there in the sunlight. Shutting out everything and everyone, again I was swept up by the fascinating atmosphere of the site. The monument was undisturbed by human influence, and this is the result of the joint effort of people who want to keep World Heritage intact. Stonehenge is resting on a spotless green carpet, while birds look for worms and other delicacies at its feet. History in vision… it was awesome.
Here you can see the plan of the central Stone Structure at Stonehenge as it survives today:
I do not know exactly which stone is which, but perhaps you would like to share my enthusiasm by looking at the pictures I have made last week. You can click on the images to see a larger photo.
And last but not least: modern technology meets ancient stoicism
I do not know what the helicopters were doing up there – even a Chinook flew by!! – but I was very lucky with this shot.
There is an elaborate article on Wikipedia about the origins of Stonehenge, the stages of building it, the function, construction and modern history; too much to relate in this blog post. You can also take a look at this Stonehenge site. If you are ever in the vicinity of Salisbury, you should really spare an hour to visit. The Stones might talk to you too…