Thursday, June 01, 2006

Oxide Tor

Oxide Tor

At the top of Oxide Hill was a large stone Tor. The stone was red-brown tinged, stained over the centuries by the windborne red oxide powder, mined in the land beneath the hill.

So many generations had mined the red oxide which lay for acres around Oxide Hill, that the inhabitants appeared to have a permanent reddish cast to their skin and hair. A stranger would think he had discovered a new race of people. So ingrained and total was this staining, that unless he was privileged to see one of the new babies, who were too young to even crawl, he would go away with stories of this strange race of humans, the like of which was seen no where else on earth. These babies were pale, their skins almost translucent. Their hair was blonde to light brown, with the occasional redhead amongst them, bearing a different sort of red than that of the tribe's people. The eyes of the babies were wide and blue, the same colour as that of the adults, but because of the dust and glare the adults went about with eyes barely opened wide enough to see, thus enhancing the all over reddish appearance which was seen as beautiful.

At the edge of the red oxide fields, were small solid stone homes of one and two stories. These were where the oxide miners and their families lived. This was a privileged spot, and to be a miner was a privilege, of late being granted mainly to those whose fathers were miners, or who were born with the red hair colouring. A sign of God's blessing. Further out lived the craftsmen, the tradesmen, and the clerks and politicians. In this society this was the least privileged position as it was furthest from the Tor on Oxide Hill.

The priest and priestesses lived in large airy stone temples around the Tor itself, so that they constantly were in touch with its powers.

On festival days, all class dissolved and all who were able, went down at the first light of dawn, and bathed in the warm mineral springs, in the large caves at the base of Oxide Hill. They decorated each other with brilliant blue colours, of paint, glass and precious stones. Perfume was placed in oil cones around the necks, and on the women fantastic coloured shapes and styles woven into brilliant green strips of silk were threaded in and out their thick long hair. As the day wore on this would melt and leave sweet smelling rivulets of green coloured oil down hair, body and dress. Each person donned a knee length, simple but dazzlingly white linen shift. All went barefoot in deference to the soft red powder they were to walk over.

At noon, after feasting on fruits cake and wine, the people gathered at the mouth of the cave. The huge Tor at the top of Oxide Hill would begin to vibrate, and all would hear with their ears, and feel through their feet a low humming. Those with the sight would see a brazen blue light shooting out in darts and sparks from the surfaces of the Tor, whilst from the top a white gold luminescence appeared to pulse in time with the humming.

For the stranger, viewing from the distance it was eerie and very beautiful. To see the stone Tor, reddish grey, surrounded by blue and white gold, was something one could talk about for the rest of life. But to see it set in the lush dark green of the rich grasses and trees which grew all over Oxide hill was like seeing a vision of what heaven might be like. Then to see the people in their hundreds, first and then thousands, slowly inch their colourful way around the thin red paths which spiralled evenly around Oxide Hill, ascending to the Tor, and to hear the music, of the voices in harmony with the deep humming of the Tor was magical.

This ceremony ended happily about sunset, when the people, refreshed and energised by their ritual, would come tumbling, and dancing down the spiralling path, to bathe once again in the waters, and then to lie about the rock shelves in front of the caves, picnicking, drinking, laughing and 'tall tale telling' till all finally slept, except for those who found more physical games to play. Many babies were conceived on this night, which took place every full moon, on every full moon of the year.

No one outside ever got to hear or see the ceremony at the top of Oxide Hill, but what we know of it comes from the stories of those strangers who witnessed from a distance these happenings and then told and re told them down through the centuries.

There is still plenty of red oxide around Oxide Hill. It is worn down and barely worthy of the name hill now. The Tor is long gone, but the stories remain amongst the elders, of the gentle people who lived here long before, and who mined the oxide and regenerated and refreshed the earth hereabouts with their understanding of the natural laws of earth.

It is told that the Earth will begin to hum again as the descendants of these people from a million years ago begin the journey back to Oxide Hill, unknowing of their destiny and heritage, but pulled by the power of the Tor, inexorably through the generations.

1 comment:

charlie said...

Wonderfully descriptive MC