Sunrise at Stonehenge

It was much colder than Ihad expected.It was icy, damp and windy and of course dark at 04:30 when we made our way over to Stonehenge to see the sun rise at 06:05am. There was a crunchy frost on the ground. It is kind of hard to imagine the ancient days when standing on a motorway and staring at a chainlink fence. It seems more like a golf course that you can’t play. At first we could see the moon over the stones. It was starting to get light and there was a light violet color washing over them. We began to get oriented and realized that the best angle would be from the hill looking down on the area. (Ann’s tips for shooting photos of Stonehenge here)

Actually it didn’t seem like we were going to see the sun rise that morning. It was brightening for some time, but then seemed overcast. Then just before 06:00 a sliver of burning orange started to edge upward on the horizon. It was orange like an egg yolk, maybe darker and redder. We could see that we were there on a good day all of a sudden. Soon this rich, burning disk, very large as well, made its move into the sky. It was very powerful. The stones framed it all spectacularly.

It all moved very quickly after that and then it seemed to get brighter and whiter. It is a real shame that Stonehenge is overwhelmed by traffic noise from two active motorways. It breaks an incredible moment where you might imagine yourself back thousands and thousands of years ago, watching the sun rise in the same place over the same stones.

Without knowing much about Stonehenge, you can still understand that people who made it had an appreciation for the sun. They lived with the sun a way that we don’t in our modern lives. The sun told them about when to plant, when to harvest. They built Stonehenge, it seems to me to show how well they understood the movements of the sun. It would seem that this structure was as much a showcase for their appreciation as well as for the benefits this understanding brought them. What would a hunting tribe have seen if they gazed upon sun rise over the full, unbroken set of stones? Would they have been in awe of the people that could trap the sun for moments in their monument?

As no person really knows why Stonehenge was made, it can remain a cold mystery. Or we can consider more about the ancient world and what messages it sent to the people that lived in it.