I live in a landscape made of flint and chalk, tumbled like the bones of the earth within dark soil. Huge knobbly flints show up in walls from the smallest cottage to the largest cathedral, builders making use of what they had to hand. They lie in garden beds too, clogged with soil, strange shapes looking as though they were formed by hand, though no hand but that of nature has touched them.
Inside, they hold treasure, their pale coating cracking into sharks teeth and soup spoon bowls, all shining curves and sharp edges. Colours range from palest cream through burnt gold to bright orange, silvery grey to midnight blue, chocolate and dark coffee brown – there is beauty hidden within.
Once I found a flint that looked as though a star had been caught inside, a little piece of sky fallen to earth. And, when working in our garden over the summer, we found this. A strange bird-like creature, dark eye staring, stone cradling the slender neck. Frozen in time, funny little bird stone. He sits on my desk now, keeping me company as I write, so I thought I’d share him with you too.
Happy weekend, everybody! x
This is the tower door of the Church of St Lawrence in Abbots Langley. While it’s believed there was originally a Saxon church on the site, the current church was built around 1150 AD, just four years before Nicholas Breakspeare, a resident of the parish, became the first and only English Pope, Adrian IV.
The church is a lovely Norman building of local flint, with a square tower and timber lych gate. The graveyard is huge, following the irregular curved shape characteristic of Saxon enclosures, hinting at an earlier history. It also boasts some very large trees, including this rather spectacular redwood.
There are so many stories to be found in old churchyards, the gravestone inscriptions telling tales of love, loss and family. So today when I was in the village I decided to make a quick visit, as it the weather was so nice. And I’m glad that I did.
Thus ends my entry into this week’s Thursday Doors Challenge, courtesy of Norm 2.0 – pop on over and check out some more doors, or add one of your own.
I found this flint some time ago. Split open, it lay upon the path where I walked.
It looks as though a star is inside it, as though long ago one fell to earth and became caught in the stone.
In Ambeth, the Elders of the Light watch the stars and see what they portend. They call it the skylore, the movement and patterns made in the sky letting them know what has been and what will be. It’s how they knew that Alma would be coming to them, that she would be the one to help them.
I live in an ancient landscape but then, I suppose anywhere in the UK could be defined as such. There are old traditions of watching the stars, ancient monuments aligned with the sun as it moves through the seasons. And this is not confined to the UK alone. Several years ago, an amazing star disk dating back to around 1600BC was found in Germany. Called the Nebra Sky Disc, it is made of bronze and gold and depicts the sun, moon and stars (including a cluster identified as the Pleiades), as well as two golden arcs for the solstices. It’s an extraordinary thing, the metals of its construction coming from as far away as Cornwall, hinting that the world, over three millennia ago, was a much more complex place than perhaps we imagine.
Nebra Sky Disc – Photo attribution Wikimedia Commons – DBachmann
So I like to think of my little flint as a piece of a star. And I can hold it and link myself back to those ancients who watched the skies.
Happy Easter, everyone!