Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sal Paradise and the Druids of Stonehenge

I spent the night camped outside the Amesbury Abbey along the River Avon and in the morning wandered into the village for fresh black coffee and buttered bread and returned to upload photos onto my laptop. Sitting on a gravestone enjoying the sunlight, I suddenly realized I was surrounded.
There were twelve of them in all. Pretty little blond girls with garlands in their hair wrapped in brown gunny sacks and waif-like boys barefoot in the grass with ripped up denim for tunics. They approached me slowly, crawling over the stones silent as moss, then gathering steam as if shadows moving upward into a dance. Drums beating. Flutes playing. Arms exalted toward the sky, forming a ring around me and closing in fast. Yes, I was soon to learn, they were druids.
Their leader was a statuesque red-headed and freckled lass with daisy chains around her neck and wild flowers tucked behind her ears. She wore a long flowing brown pilgrims dress without shoes and danced toward me with these saucer-like green eyes, cupping my chin and whispering, “Come with us… Come with us to set free the stones!”
She introduced herself as Sal Paradise, the main character in Kerouac’s On The Road, slurring her S’sss together like a hissing snake, “It’s paradissss….like a ‘pair of dice.’” She glided by we waving her pale arms. “We’re going to storm Stonehenge, the ancient sun dial of the pagan gods, to set her free. You should come with us.”
Sal went on to explain there was a battle brewing. “You see, most people’s lives are slipping away. You spend so much time trying to record it, capture it, film it… that you have forgotten how to live.”
“Yeah!” Her group of swarthy looking druids answered is if on cue. One greasy bearded pimply faced boy approached me snapping his fingers with an imaginary iPhone. “Why don’t you take a picture of this and post it on your blog?”
“Yeah, update your status or something!”
“Yeah, LIKE button boy!”
The druids danced around me making caveman ape sounds and grunting.
I thanked them and watched them scamper away into the forest. Sal remained. “It’s not too late. Close your computer and come with us. Don’t you want to really live?”
I thought about what she said while touring Stonehenge later that morning. Sal and her crew of deranged druids never made it past the front gate. Two Russian security guards tackled and cuffed each druid and locked them in Honey Bucket port-o-potty’s until the police arrived. You could hear them yelling from inside the hard plastic boxes. “The revolution will not be found on Twitter or Tumblr or Pinterest. The revolution will be …”
I didn't hear the rest, I was too busy giving instructions to fellow tourist, a Japanese man with large camera bag and iPad with uplink satellite capabilities, to take my picture.
"Yes... Yes... button on bottom... I know.  I hold it down until red light come." He said. "Ok.... Now everybody say, 'Stonehenge!'"

1 comment:

  1. Only Mr. Hartentein would be attacked by Druids. I love this.