Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Europe (excluding the United Kingdom) (02/19/09)
TITLE: Mile Stones
By Charlene Reid
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“Isn’t time strange?” I asked no one in particular, looking at the birthday cake with “THE BIG 50” on it.
With all the candles it looked more like a forest fire than a cake. I closed my eyes and made the traditional wish and blew with all my might.
“Wow, Mom! You still have strong lungs!” My youngest said and everyone laughed.
I looked at my family and thought of how blessed I was. As the activity continued around me, my mind wandered. This year had been a series of joys and troubles unparalleled to any other time in my life.
As part of my rebellion (or celebration) of turning 50 this year, my husband and I planned to do something memorable because we would also celebrate 25 years of marriage.
We decided on a trip to a place full of mystery that had stood the test of time, refusing to give up its secrets from all but their designer. We felt this represented the mystery of life itself. We live and die and not all of us leave a mark on the world that says we were here. The great designer of life alone knows our purposes and times.
Many places came to mind but we decided on one that caught our attention as we were searching - Ales Stenar (Ale’s Stone). A megalithic monument – a 67 metre long ‘stone ship’ formed by 59 large sandstone boulders, each weighing up to 1.8 tonnes dated @ 600 CE to the Nordic Iron Age. Folklore ascribes the stones to King Ale’s grave, though there is no record of such a king.
I t is located on the Baltic Shore outside the fishing village of Kåseberga, in Skåne, Sweden.
It was a beautiful day. Not a cloud in the sky. We were winded by the hike from the parking lot up the steps and sharp incline to the top of the 37 meter high ridge and breathless by the view.
Standing at one end of the ship looking out over the Baltic Sea, the blue of the ocean and sky seemed to blend as if they were one. Then looking out over the horizon from the other end the land and the sky met seamlessly.
We walked around it mesmerized by the history and mystery. Who had built it? Why? When and how? Questions that time had hidden the answers to. We reflected on the speculations of its significance.
One was that it had been positioned according to the 365 days of the year and 24 hours in a day. The stones at each end actually do mark the summer and winter solstice.
Another is that it was a burial spot. Many other stone ship memorials exist in other places in Sweden. They were popular in the Viking era for burying and memorializing their seafaring departed. However, no actual remains exist at this site.
Another was that it was a memorial for those who were lost at sea.
What ever it was, to us it memorialized 25 years together.
Now my mind wandered again and settled on another stone, one I was not expecting at this time in my life, the stone marking my husbands grave.
I’ll forever remember the cold I felt as I read - Beloved Husband and Father – Christ his Cornerstone.
I also remember thinking someday this stone will be faded and the words worn off but it will stand as a memorial to those of us who knew him.
Now I focused again on the mile stone of my 50th.
I thought of how life is to be lived as long as we have it to live. It is a series of markers. Memories and events stand out when we look back. Some have shaped us, or helped determine steps to take. Some stand out as victories or blessings, while others are beacons of troubled or painful times.
“Isn’t time strange?”
Travel by Lori Leidig
Wikipedia – Ales Stonar
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