The mysteries of antiquity are myriad. Only a few on earth remain visible, exposed to the elements. At one time Stonehenge, on the Salisbury plain in South-Central England, was open to all, so any intrepid scholar-seeker-tourist could walk among the monoliths, stroking them in the same fashion as the ape-men in 2001, A Space Odyssey (aping the apes?), receive "vibrations" or take close-up photos. Being young and impressionable, I made the pilgrimage in 1973. I had read the current crop of popular metaphysical books, I was intrigued by Casteneda's Don Juan, I studied "Lay Lines" superimposed upon British Ordnance maps. Of all that "New Age" bluster and hokum, this site alone has made a lasting impression on me. It is, ultimately, unknowable in its entirety. But it is real. It represents more than just an arrangement of shaped rocks. It was not only a cultural artifact of an extinct civilization, but it was arguably the pinnacle of that society. To walk among the stones gave me a thrill, it was almost as if the ancients were present, whispering their secret knowledge in my ear.
I returned twenty-two years later, with family in tow, and although the monument was still there, the nearest one could approach was about 30 meters. I heard voices that day as well, but they were from the hundreds of tourists all around me. The boys enjoyed it, however, and the Stonehenge T-shirts they got there were worn proudly for years.