Zak Spade's

The Life of Stones

Published under my View from the Stairs column in a magazine covering north Buckinghamshire, April 2011, as:
The Life of Stones
by Phil J O'Hara

o - O - o

Ah, what’s in a title?

I suppose that someone will see, “The Life of Stones,” and anticipate my next words with a groan - A stone’s life must be so interesting!

Okay, perhaps not every stone. Not every stone on the planet; just some of them.

Imagine a stone on the ground, minding its own business, not a care in the world. Imagine this stone sitting on the edge of a farmer’s field near one of the villages sited within what eventually became ‘Milton Keynes New Town.’

Our chosen stone would not expect an exciting life. Occasionally it might be picked up and thrown by a young lad at a cocky crow. However, that is as much as our stone might have anticipated.

Indeed, most stones in the area of what became ‘Milton Keynes New Town’ might have anticipated no more.

However, this is where the life of stones becomes more interesting. When Man interferes with a stone’s destiny, he does it with real flair. He doesn’t just pick up a stone and fling it at some poor hapless bird. No, he takes that stone and he traumatises it.

The earth moving vehicles were probably the worst of it. If a stone is to be picked up, it would rather it was by a hand than a cold steel claw. The threat of being buried was probably second in our stone’s mind. Not the greatest fear of a stone - they tend to get used to periods of darkness over the aeons. Things happen. They just do.

No, the spooky thing was probably the emergence of structures from the ground. Not their size, no, we all know about the proud boast of those directing the mechanical beasts that no building would be higher than a tall tree. A-hem, yes.

Hah! What would a stone know about the changing promises of those with ‘change’ in their minds?

Our stone would have to face existence in an environment where there was less chance of being picked up and thrown at a bird. Fewer birds made it statistically less probable that a bird would be available to be thrown at.

However, during the erection of the strange structures, there was always the possibility of being snatched up and thrown through a window of one of them while under construction. I don’t think stones experience pain, but I’ve no doubt they would have become rather stressed at the thought if they did.

The world is a changing place and I suppose kids have to direct their energy somewhere other than at vanishing birds.

The lives of the stones across Milton Keynes have been changed over the years. We should be concerned for them. Humanity should take a responsible view on this.

And that is before considering the effect on those living in places such as Bradwell, Willen, Simpson - before they needed the word ‘village’ appended to them...

© 2011

31 August 2021