It was freezing at Jenny Brown’s Point, but the emailed invite had been specific: ‘Come to a beach party . . .’ Thankfully, it hadn’t mentioned sea-bathing. When I arrived late on that Sunday afternoon, the three of them were already on the beach, playing like children. I could hear their fun long before I saw them down below. I climbed over the stile in the winding lane, then scrambled down the muddy path dotted with large limestone boulders, before coming to the uncertain edge where you can see the whole of the beach below.
The coast between Arnside and Silverdale is dotted with small coves. They are scenic and often very beautiful – but not in a classic sense. They are also a haven for wildlife. Migrating flocks of birds arrive and depart from the marshy landscape with regularity. Mud and sand vie with each other to dominate the landscape, and the beaches are crossed with watery swirls which mark the paths of streams and small rivers making their way across the sands and into Morecambe Bay in channels that constantly change. The area is fascinating but deadly. People die out there as the shifting subterranean streams change sand and turn mud into quicksand.
It is not a place for the faint-hearted.
It was next to one of these swirls of water that I located them. Their voices were carrying a long way in the fading light. Out across the vast sands, the pale winter sun was nearing the horizon of the world, and cast a ghostly brightness about the edges of their darting figures. They seemed to be racing to finish something.
Eager not to be left out of the fun, I scrambled down the mud and rocks and onto the beach. I had to follow the curve of the channel to get to them. Maria Angelo had a sturdy branch in her hand. She was being guided by Don Pedro and George Dixter. A few metres away were the remains of a picnic. Had I got the time wrong? I though back to the message which had been very clear. No, I was here as invited.
I watched my mind race to the conclusion that I had been deliberately left out. It moved too quickly to stop, but I followed its flight across the darkening dome of my emotional mind as Maria Angelo put down the stick and came to give me a hug. I returned its warmth and looked up at the other two, seeing in their eyes the feeling precision that they all shared, and that I had, at least, started to appreciate. There was no implication of exclusion. I had simply arrived here when they had finished their earlier business . . . Not always about you, my correcting mind said, not always about you . . .
As I wrestled with this – the fragility of being at the centre of something, when we could live elsewhere in its landscape; could live in all of its landscape. A picture of being centreless came strongly to mind.I looked up from my reverie to find George Dixter urging me to look down at what Maria Angelo had just finished drawing.
The triangle was huge. Its vertical point faced the distant setting sun, ending in the quietly swirling waters of the channel. She pointed to the sunset to make sure I had seen the alignment.
“Yours to finish,” she said, giving me the stick.
I looked down. The triangle was all of fifty metres across. “Sun setting,” Don Pedro said softly. “Act, now, don’t think . . .”
I took in the fading sun, the swirling stream quietly mocking me. Then I moved, running to the vertical point on the very edge of the water and digging the tip of the stick deeply into the wet sand to mark the start point. With all my strength, I dragged it along the best circular arc I could manage until it joined the next point of the triangle. I couldn’t believe the effort it took to cut, constantly, through the heavy sand and mud. My breathing was laboured as I began the second arc. By the time that was done I was sweating into my clothes. The third leg finished the circle, which now enclosed the triangle.
I turned to look at them. They were smiling at my exertions. I could taste the implied change in the salty air. I had become the active force, they had given me the ‘tool’ to carry out the task. Don Pedro nodded to me. “Ten minutes light left,” he shouted, across the huge circle. I stared at my construction, cursing my lack of foresight – I had not marked the six points of what they called the Hexaflow, six points that marked the path of intelligence in the way things could happen, as the human mind reached for its potential in any manifest situation.
I ran, again, jabbing the stick into the mud, dividing each third of the circle into two more points. When I had finished, the palm of my right hand was blistered. I still had to create the hexaflow figures by joining the six points together in a pattern revealed by the division of the One of the circle by the number seven – the number of the octave, even though that is regarded as an eight, since it begins, again. On the night of the wine-filled party, Don Pedro had revealed the pattern and purpose to me on a drawing done in the earth next to his tiny caravan dwelling. I well remembered his smiles as he took out an ancient desktop calculator and divided 1 by 7.
With the light dropping by the second, I ran to trace out the numbers 1-4-2-8-5-7 and back to 1 to complete the figure. I turned around, triumphant . . . but they were leaving. . .
I fought the emotion of being left out, again, and, in that moment caught George Dixter’s arm beckoning me to follow. As I set out after them, a blur of golden fur wrapped itself around my ankles, tripping me up on the sand. Laughing and now covered in mud, sand and a feeling of release from the self-imposed angst of ego, I stroked the friendly face, whose tongue was doing its best to remove the signs of my hard work. Together, we left the beach.
Five minutes later, the five of us were watching the darkening sandy stretch from the headland. I heard the sound of a flask being opened and turned to see Don Pedro pouring me a cup of steaming coffee from the full thermos. “Not that you cold,” he chuckled.
Gratefully, I took the hot drink with dirty hands and sipped it. He pointed back to the beach. The tide was racing up the channel, flickering in the last rays of the sun, which had now flared to twice its size as it died on the horizon, to be mythically reborn after the hazardous passage through the night. Within minutes, the vast enneagram was gone, as the shallow waters of time and tide consumed it.
“But it was there, and therefore real” George Dixter said, smiling at my confusion. “And it was a damned good enneagram . . .”
They left me contemplating the scene. It was only ten minutes later that I realised I still had Don Pedro’s venerable flask cup. I smiled at the perfection of that, then took it home to wash it.
Coffee with Don Pedro is usually published on Thursdays. The previous episodes, some of which are labelled ‘The Beast in the Cafe’ are in the blogs. You can follow the enigmatic trail by clicking on this link.
All images and text ©International copyright, The Silent Eye School of Consciousness, 2015.
Contact details and an outline description are on the other pages of this blog and via the website at www.thesilenteye.co.uk