Stones have been laid upon stones since the beginning of time. We see evidence of this in every land and continent. These ancient stone structures only last because they are made of stone, a material more impervious to change than any other readily found substance on earth. The observance of important dates and events in the heavens are measured and anticipated because of a most ancient reliance on this unchanging nature of stone. We would do well to recognize this archaic association and learn to appreciate the continual relationship between the seasons and man made stone structures of the past.
Our perspective, our well being, our inspiration and hope ‘hinges’ upon our being able to perceive change. The very change that stones resist, allows us to see ‘difference of time’ for what that it really is. Civilizations have erected austere and wonderful monuments, stone edifices elevating the concept of ‘change’ to that which is celebrated, rather than feared. The megalithic ‘standing stones’ of Britain and Ireland are ‘understandable’, if only for this reason. As we contemplate the jutting of large stones silhouetted in some lonely place, we become aware of the distance that change alone has put between who we are and who we were, not just as individuals but collectively. It is not at all incongruous to consider that, apart from change, everything else about us has stayed the same.
It is this same predictability, this equivalent ‘sameness’, that makes it self- evident that wherever there are stones, there will be people who will align them together into structures, and for no apparent reason. Who has not at some time, while wandering through the countryside, discovered an interesting man made configuration of stones. Upon discovering such an ordered pile of stones resting ‘immobile’, one upon another, we ourselves may be inexplicably ‘moved’. Though our experience is personal, there is a experimental knowing, which is universal and suggests a uniquely common identity. The single enduring property of those monuments of stone, though motionlessness and seemingly inert, becomes the catalyst for a variety of creative human responses. Our shared humanity seems somehow locked in the past; a past of stone. We realize that we are not only ‘here and now’, but we are all so very far away, and very taken back, by time.
Leviathan bones, lost relics, latent fossils tell very little of the story. It is the carefully stacked stones themselves that speak volumes to the human psyche. They read us like an open book. These hard lifeless(?) stones tell us we have been here before, because we are here now. And by the hardness of reason, we realize there is very little distinction. It is as though we have discovered our own unique remnants in some great prehistoric Thesaurus. Contained within this revelation is the possibility that we are all actually on the same page! Not only are we having ‘our present’, but we also " had ‘archaic’ and ‘dated’ as well ", thus closing the distance between preceding and proceeding moments of time in space.
Similar to Roget’s original intentions for ordering words by definition, rather than alphabetically, our propensity to move (and be moved by) stones in their various configurations and constructions, defines who we are. The grouping experience is merely the making of constructive connections between like concepts. Rather than feebly clutching to the randomness of our surroundings, we are recognizing the solid associations these stones provide.
Stone configurations act as our GPS receiver, to help us find our location, in much the same way they have always done throughout the ages. Our ancestors erected monumental landmarks to connect the dots for us. They laboriously drafted detailed charts of the stars in the night sky, quarried, shaped and maneuvered huge stones into position, for us to know, not so much where we are, but who we are. The kind of effort and extravagance historically distant peoples infused into their self-imposed undertakings in stone, may seem completely illogical to us now, locked in our technological , chronological universe, but the importance of what they left behind, though very much a mystery, is surely not wasted. The significance lies in how connected we still are to stones, not how old the structures are or even how on earth they were made. And it doesn’t matter much if they are enormous ancient landmarks or comparatively recent structures of free standing stone, our response as human beings is fundamentally the same. It seems that something profoundly important 'hinges' on our being able to understand why this happens.