The Circle

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Keswick, England – July 2004

Somewhere around here is a stone circle. I walk down a narrow, stone fence-lined path. The hiss of cars drifts to my ears on the breeze. The Lake District is a country for walking, and yet it’s hard to get from place to place without a car. I fill my lungs with air that smells of cut grass and cow pies.Β  The fog that’s been hanging around in my brain for weeks dissipates a little.

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A cluster of cows breaks apart and approaches the wall as I pass by. Their demeanor is territorial. Almost menacing.

I stop. “Hello,” I say in my cheeriest voice.

They push against the wall and snort. I get the feeling that they would trample me if they could.

It’s been a strange summer.

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A few minutes later, I come upon the circle. Other visitors weave in and out of the stones, which are smaller than I expected.Β  However, the backdrop of mountains and valleys makes up for the circle’s modest size. This is my first stone circle. I’d take it over Stonehenge any day.

As I slowly circle the circle, the events of a few days ago enter my mind. I was in Kendal on an errand. It was around noon and I was walking down one of the main streets looking for an address. My head spun with hunger, and the fog was so thick in my brain that I could barely focus. I wouldn’t let myself eat until the errand was finished. The sidewalks were thronged with people. I was most certainly scowling. My foul moods are always connected to lack of food.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a woman standing between two parallel parked cars. In her outstretched palm she held some large, jagged amethysts on a soft blue cloth.Β  She could have been forty-five or fifty-five. She was dressed in a beige pencil skirt and matching mesh sweater. The sleeves were pushed up to her elbows. She wore beige pumps on her feet. Her hair was equally beige and pulled back into a sleek ponytail. Her pale skin was dusted with sand-colored freckles. She had long, skinny fingers and a French manicure. She wore no jewelry.

“Who’s going to bring me luck today?” She said out loud. She scanned the passersby and then fixed her fierce blue eyes on me. “Maybe this lady with the lovely smile.” She moved towards me.

“No.” I growled. My scowl deepened. I shook my head and quickened my pace. People who want something always seem to gravitate towards me. As if I have an abundance.

Her voice rose. Forceful words in some strange, gutteral tongue hit me.

I wheeled around and our eyes locked.

She nodded once. Her eyes bored right through me. “Good luck.”

I turned away and shook my head to try and clear it. I took a few more steps, and then turned around once more, but she had vanished.

Here and now, clouds begin to converge over the mountains. Shadows flutter over the slopes. I’ve heard that the barrier between the world of the living and that of the spirits is more porous in Great Britain. Good luck is not such an evil thing to want from someone. However, I haven’t got any to spare right now. I walk past the final stone and draw the circle to a close.

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38 thoughts on “The Circle

    • So Kendal has a reputation for weirdos? If she had been dressed in long flowing hippie robes or tie dye it wouldn’t have fazed me very much. It was like she had just stepped out of the office, but instead of going to lunch she preferred to walk around with her crystals in search of good luck.

      I never did make it to Northumberland. I absolutely loved the Lake District, though, spookiness and all. πŸ™‚

  1. Sounds like you dissed a gypsy. She locked your eyes…. tck,tck,tck….I would tread lightly. Find a way to cleanse her from your psyche. She’s in you now, you need to pass her on to something else,somewhere else, some one else. Carry a dram of sweet flower nectar to the top of a mountain and pour it over a seed and plant it so she can see the wonder of your journey and be satisfied. She’ll stay there with the seed and your debt will be filled. For every spring when it blooms she’ll be filled with the grandeur of the mountain and be caressed by the wind. You’ll thank me….

  2. Your pictures truly are breath-taking! Love how you got a full wide shot of those awesome huge stones. And the part about the cows and of how they looked – interesting! That freaky lady reminds me of a woman who approached me somewhat like that when I was in the middle of a very busy street with folks crowdedly passing by around us. She grabbed my hands and said something to me about how I looked like I had some things she wanted to reveal to me. Later on, I found out that horoscope-tellers do that all of the time to people who look “vulnerable” to them on the streets. So yeah, I was pissed that I looked vulnerable, when I was trying to just be nice, as I was saying, “Uh, no thanks”, to her. At least now I know and will just jab the next lady who does that to me with my shopping bags. Hahaha! Okay, just kidding. I”ll just walk on by, as if I’ve got a confidence about me. Fabulous post, Riso!

    • It very well could have been something like that. I probably looked vulnerable, because I was so light-headed from hunger. That’s so lame to try and get customers like that. Thanks, as always, for your interesting comments. πŸ™‚

  3. I can honestly say, I’ve never heard of these rocks! This is why I love your posts as I get to discover places through your writings! πŸ˜€

    • That’s so cool to hear. Thanks. πŸ™‚ The stone circle is called Castlerigg (I probably should have said that in the post) and it’s said to be one of the most picturesque. The UK has lots of stone circles.

  4. The texture of these photos simply beautiful! You made me laugh, of all of the people you were the β€œchosen one”, so did good things happen after o no?

    • Well, my time in the UK was pretty good, but I wouldn’t say that it was better than usual. I think she more wanted to take it from me rather than give it. I doubt she got it, though. πŸ˜‰

  5. The cows and the cloud photo is my favorite of this blog post. The hide of the cows blend in with the colors of the earth, making the blue and white of the sky really stand out beautifully!

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