We seem to have finally lost the Hawks.
The day feels somehow empty.
But for Wen the day is still young and she is keen to introduce me to another chalk figure. This one is much later than the Uffington Dragon and, I have to say, a lot less impressive. The chalk does not even appear particularly white just a sort of dirty grey colour. It now seems to depict an equal armed cross surmounting an upward pointing triangle but Wen thinks it may have been a phallus and keitis in its earlier days. One thing is for sure it is clearly visible from the road. When we get up onto the top of the hill the sky has darkened with cloud cover and the earlier highs on Hawk Hill are beginning to feel like a hallucinatory lapse in time. Happily there are a couple of burial mounds on the hill which reinforces Wen’s contention about the antiquity of the place if not the figure. It is a nice enough spot, if a tad exposed, and Wen finds a landscape feature which could well be a naval. It seems beyond doubt that the ancients did this type of thing. Seeing bodies in the earth or seeing the earth as a series of sleeping bodies needful of awakening to animation. Two ravens land simultaneously on the top of the barrow which reminds me of Castle Rigg when two ravens did something similar as we approached the entrance stones and that in turn reminds me that Wotan’s birds were ravens known has ‘Memory’ and ‘Mind’… Nine nights he hung there and he sacrificed an eye in order to comprehend occult wisdom… I wonder if it was pecked out by the ravens… or whether that is merely a clever blind for spiritual insight and make a mental note to re-read the story and meditate on it. I wander out to the edge of the hill just past the scouring poles and my heart leaps. On the plain below walking across a field two figures are discernable and just above them quite close to their heads a Red Kite circles, although the figures themselves appear to be totally oblivious of the bird above them.
“It’s not only us they follow,” I point out to Wen with some satisfaction.
“It probably thinks they are us” says Wen as the hawk keens, wheels, turns and heads directly for our position on the hill. They do appear to have phenomenal hearing as well as their legendary eyesight.
“It cannot know we are here,” I say with total conviction as the hawk labours to climb towards our position.
“It cannot know we are here” I say with less conviction as the hawk showing no inclination to alter its course is now two thirds the way to our position and is still working terribly hard to reach us.
“It cannot know…”
“Wound round the hanging tree…I sacrifice… myself… to myself… and now seek wisdom’s word from the breach in Mimir’s bubbling head,” says Wen as the hawk flies directly above our standing position on the hill-top and then screeches, loudly.
The ravens cackle in unison fly up and off from the barrow and head into the tree cover, their wings moving in lazy unison.
“How do you do that?”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
That’s a reference to Yggdrasil, who is an eight-legged horse but also a tree spanning the three worlds and I was just thinking about that very story how do you know all this stuff?”
“I didn’t know I knew it until a moment ago, it just sort of emerged,” Wen smiles apologetically.
“It’s only the same as you and the birds, how do you do that?”
“I don’t do anything, it happens naturally.”
“We must be chosen ones,” says Wen as an icy blast of wind gusts over the hilltop.
“… or frozen ones,” I reply, zipping up my jacket and heading back to the car.