Monday, 25 August 2008

On Saturday I visited Rough Tor. Rough Tor is a remarkable place just on the edge of Bodmin Moor near to Camelford. It is a high tor and there are the most extraordinary nature sculptures on its peak: huge slabs of granite that have been chiselled by ice and wind over many centuries. The slabs are laid on top of each other in places, making it look as if Andy Goldsworthy has been there beavering away.

For me, Rough Tor is a stone kingdom. There are so many stones - balancing stones, tumbling stones, broken stones - that to be human in this place is to be in the minority. There are wild horses and cows and sheep and the wind tumbles around the place like a feverish duster - always sweeping things away, making them fresh, never letting anything settle for too long.

Whilst I was there I was particularly struck by the way in which stones rise up and out of the earth. At the same time I was pondering why so many people take stones as souvenirs - and then these two things become obviously connected. Souvenir means to rise from below - and I think that this is what stones do. Not only literally, but also metaphorically because they remind us of what can rise up from within us. The intuitive, instinctive parts of our own natures. That which we know without needing to be taught.

Stones takes us back to our primordial selves: they remind us of who we are, who we were from the moment we were born. And who we will be when we die. Perhaps even after we have died. Something so basic and so essential that for a moment we recognise the stone as a friend; a companion, someone who understands what is in our hearts without needing to speak of it.

At least, that's what I'm thinking today - do let me know if you agree or think differently......

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