Yesterday at the War Memorial outside the Cathedral on Rochester High Street I noticed a small white ‘package’ sitting on the plinth.
I waked around to the other side and there was another – consisting of a small sheet of cotton wool held in place by stones and sticks.
No suggestion of what this might have meant – an art-school installation, a meditation on Joseph Beuys with cotton wool standing in for Tartar felt, or some cryptic ritual? Or perhaps the cotton wool represents the approach of the heritage industry in a town like Rochester. Small scraps are wrapped in cotton wool while the rest is left to the market place.
I walked around the Cathedral in an anticlockwise direction and found myself in front of the ancient catalpa (Indian Bean Tree) where a further votive offering had been left on the railing protecting the tree from ‘vandals’.
Delightful as it is to come across such eldritch communications, I am left with a small disappointment because my hunger for meaning hasn’t been assuaged.
A good walk between Harrietsham and Lenham, with extant Saxon (or earlier) hedgerows, and coming across one of the springs, fed by chalk aquifers in the Downs which feed the River Stour and the River Len. This area was famed for it’s watercress beds up until the 19th Century.
An interesting flint circle surrounding a tree along our route provided pleasing proof that this agricultural community continues to pay service to the Old Ways.
A recent walk further afield took me to the Coldrum Long Barrow (viewed above looking North East), the remains of a 4,000 to 5,000 year old Neolithic Long Barrow. It is a powerful and beautiful site, set in a striking Kent landscape. The lack of ease in reaching the site makes it all the more rewarding when it is finally achieved.
Here one can see tree dressing, ribons and votive offerings – possible left by members of the Kent Gorsedd who meet here at solstice and equinox and who work alongside the National Trust to preserve and value this extraordinary site.