When England has a good summer it’s a great summer. Such was the year of 1990. After living in London for the past 18 months, with three young children, it was high time to leave the metropolis and Glastonbury drew us in. For a Yank the Somerset village appeared like Hobbiton, and the mystery surrounding King Author and Merlin that came from tales of Glastonbury Tor made my family feel we too were on a quest. It was a time for high adventure of youth and parental wonder.
Midmorning listening to the BBC – a habit I picked up living overseas in Puerto Rico and Japan – a habit I continue to indulge in, a story caught my attention. A crop circle had appeared overnight in a field a few miles from our home on the side of Glastonbury Tor. The adventure had begun. We piled the children into the car, along with their various stuffed animals, and took off. It was hard not to rush as the chance to see nature’s mysterious circles was exciting for us all. For once the English hedge rows, that tower on each side of the road like walls of vines and brambles seemed to be useful. The rows are made from stones cleared in the fields- they keep the sheep from pouring into the roads. Within this tunnel pathway we couldn’t safely move any faster than the speed limit dictated. Finally, we reached the farm. About a dozen other cars, listeners of the BBC, welcomed us.
The farmer was not amused but allowed us all entry into his fields. My fingers began to feel static electricity as my children dashed for the center of the big circle.
Not a single blade of the grain was crushed just bent. Later I would learn that the power that creates the circles doesn’t harm the cellular structure of the grain. In fact once the grain grows back the sections of grain where the circle appeared actually grow stronger.In the UK over 10,000 crop circles appear that year.
The temperature was in the upper seventies with the sun continuing to ascend overhead. People marveled at the size of the circles, and the way they felt. “It’s so energizing,” said a middle-aged man with spectacles. “I’ve been to see the moving statues in Ireland,” came a voice of an elderly lady, “this… there is that same presence here.” A young women adorned in scarves stood in the center of the circle, closed her eyes, took a deep breath and announced, “Zen, amen.” A man just stared in wonder. Finally he said, “don’t know what it is. But it’s something.”
My children danced about energized by the event. They ran from circle to circle. I began to feel the silent music in the air, the rhythm in the grain, the heartbeat of the field. I pulled out my camera hoping I had enough film to convey what was happening. At that moment I saw my son moving from one circle to the other on a path set forth by the crop circle designers. I smiled, feeling elated and took my photos.
Then we heard them, man’s eagles of the sky- Harrier jets flew overhead. Shortly after helicopters appeared and the military asked us pleasantly to clear the area. They roped off the circles from the public, we felt fortunate to be able to have experienced nature’s creations first hand.
This photo, for me, will always remind me of that discovery, that special day of adventure. Looking at it with eyes of someone who doesn’t know the back story I see the same- a summer’s day in a field with a boy on a summer adventure.
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