3,000 – 5,000 years ago, in that range, completely disconnected cultures refined their understanding of seasons, calculated where and when sunlight arrived, when spring arrived and build celebration monuments …
Egyptians built pyramids. Early Brits built Stonehenge. Aztecs built Chichen-Itza. Irish Druids (perhaps Brits on spring-break) built Newgrange. Of these, I’ve only seen Chichen-Itza first-hand – witnessed buildings with slits/passages which only see light shining through at sunrise one day a year … and, that day is here again, now.
What most Canadians don’t know, what every Albertan ought to, is we have a similar vintage time/keeping structures too. Canada’s Stonehenge (a.k.a. Majorville Medicine Wheel) , arrangement of rocks and cairns spread over a wide beautiful landscape about two hours drive from Calgary.
What actually went on there, at that site, is mystery that historians and archaeologists speculate about.
I’ve been there twice. Location, not widely known. Good thing. It won’t be overrun or ruined.
But I easily go there often, in my memory.
Magnificently and simply - unforgettable.
I’ve stood where first nations walked and celebrated. Where bison roamed, where earliest Canadians followed migrating herds; following their food source as their food source followed its food source.
Likely a spiritual and/or celebration place. I believe that because there is a magical experience to be had there. Magnificent landscape.
In larger measure, appreciating thousands of years ago, people stood there watching that landscape, marveling as I have. They figured it out there, built a marvelous early clock, preserved and sort-of protected.
Marveling even more at how completely distant cultures at different places on earth planet revealed to themselves – and built monuments – to something so special, so long ago. Long before education, learning and math as know it these ancient cultures paid homage to the magic of astronomy and the universe, and built monuments to it. Preserved monuments. When we consider how little of antiquity has lasted it is incredible that forward thinking people made the preservation of these so special – in most cases by celebrating and protecting them for everyone to see.
And, as in the case of our Majorville, keeping it mostly secret so the place won’t be spoiled. It’s best protection, I suppose, is that people don’t know – and if they do, they don’t know how to get there.
Knowing, being entrusted with knowing – lucky me.
P.S.: I’ve learned the first day of spring this year starts early … later this afternoon, so I’ll count tomorrow as the first day (with amusement because tomorrow is the ‘last day’ of my 13th year of writing this column). It seems the March 21st/1st day of spring is/was the exception, not the rule over most of the last century – that the 20th has become the new ‘normal’ day, the first day of spring. And some years, like this one – the vernal equinox takes place on the 19th, this year it is at 2:00PM … and perhaps 2:30 in Newfoundland.
written / published from Calgary, AB
morning walk: -8C/18F, clear crisp calm .. another sunny-warm one ahead. Gusta and I took a longer than usual stroll, making up for shortchanging her a couple of days this week; we saw nothing move, heard mildly muffled traffic in the distance and relaxed – so easy to do when clocks/deadlines/appointments aren’t a factor.