The solstice is wicked cool - no stories about mysterious rocks necessary
Posted by David Brooks | Monday, December 16, 2013
Have you ever been to America's Stonehenge, the tourist spot in Salem that combines a petting zoo, lovely woodland trails, and beautiful cellar holes and stone walls, then wraps them in New Age-y baloney about pre-Columbian civilizations? It's worth a visit, because it's a nice spot and because it's always interesting to watch people embrace the irrational. It's hosting a special celebration on the Winter Solstice, as you might suspect.
If you're a CSICOP type, you'll need to bite your tongue. I didn't do a very good job of biting my tongue in today's Telegraph, in which I presented a muddled (I must admit) takedown of the whole idea that ancient stones are aligned with astronomical events, which tends to bleed over into lost-civilization hand-waving. I tried to make the point that you don't need silly, unsupported stories to enjoy the majesty of the universe and human behavior - in fact, such stories get in the way. Not sure I made that point very well, however.
The column was inspried by a terrific article in the latest edition of Northern Woodlands by a Vermont teacher named Ben Lord. He very nicely conveys a journey from sort-of-believer to not-believer-at-all, as far as mysterious historical underpinnings to New England's scattered stone structures, and how that doesn't get in the way of his enjoyment.
Titled “Lost Histories: The Story of New England’s Stone Chambers,” the article is well worth a read. The current issue isn’t online, but you can buy a copy via northernwoodlands.org.