23 August 2009

A Road Runs Through It

Recently I spent a delightful late summer day on a car-borne pilgrimage to Avebury. Yes, ok, I did drive there, but I was astonished for find that two roads cut right through the sacred circle that was created about 6,000 years ago. It forces you to question what sort of people we have become that we could so blatantly desescrate what our ancestors clearly regarded as a sacred site.

The monuments date from the Stone Age and the relationship of their creators with stone is moving and impressive. We are clearly living in the Money Age, since that is the only thing that touches us so deeply today. Our creations are vast shacks of corrugated tin that have been set up to provide a venue to buy something cheap and sell it expensive. Our greatest monuments are at Canary Wharf - the cathedrals of profit. In Woman on the Edge of Time Marge Piercy projects us into a distant future where they look back at our times and call it The Age of Waste and Greed.

I returned home to hear the news that Athens was burning - the result of fires set deliberately on behalf of property developers seeking to extend the city. The parthenon was lit up by the sacrilegious flames. Only a culture so utterly divorced from its connection with the land could destroy the trees that allow Athens to breathe. Perhaps the tin shacks will be constructed and peopled with privateers who count their piles of money as they suffocate.

1 comment:

  1. Pray tell how our ancestors would have got to and from the site, to build it and use it, and how they moved around within the site once there, without paths or roads? It was they who laid the tracks that others followed. The tracks got deeper and wider… I’m into Dire Straits Telegraph Road here.

    Unlike most other stone circles Avebury has a community living within it, perhaps its original purpose.