Part Eight of The Unseen Sea
“Grandad,” asks Jessica, taking his hand as they walk up the face of the sand dune. “What is a me?”
He looks down at the golden-haired child and shakes his head in admiration. He knows it is not unusual for children to have these thoughts, but his grandaughter seems positively precocious with such considerations. It pleases him a lot, but he doesn’t want to give her too much, too soon. He wants her to enjoy the journey to understanding in a gentle way, at a pace of her own. But, he has to admit, she’s the one pushing things, not him.
He draws a breath to answer her question but then takes stop himself; not sure how to begin. He pauses, letting the moment reveal its own potential. “Shall we sit down for our picnic and consider the puzzle of me?” he asks, gently.
Jessica shakes her golden curls in agreement. Coming to this beach is her favourite thing when Grandad is looking after her. For a September day, the weather is being very kind. The sky is blue and the breeze is light. It will be a fine picnic.
They had stopped on the way for refreshments, even though the journey from his house is just over an hour. Jessica likes the woman who runs the ‘little cafe with the bright flowers’ on the edge of Ulverston, so stopping there is a favourite thing, too. Now, one top of her favourite dune, many of the gifted bright flowers adorn her hair in a brightly coloured crown skilfully woven by Cynthia. The café’s owner presented it just before they left for the final leg of their journey. He knew he would never forget that picture of a flower-crowned little girl with an ice-cream in her hand–and over much of the rest of her white summer dress, too…
It’s one of Jessica and Grandad Lucca’s secrets that the old but much-loved Landrover doesn’t mind about such things, and soon they were on their way, again, sticky but smiling.
As they gaze around from the dune’s crest, the breeze stiffens, dislodging the crown of flowers in Jessica’s hair.
“Shall we take it off?” asks Grandad. “Might keep it more safe?”
Jessica nods, then carefully unpins it and lays it down next to the gingham patterned plastic picnic blanket that Grandad has just unfurled from the wicker basket.
From nowhere, the inspiration comes to Grandad. “So,” he asks with relish, rubbing his hands. “how long have you had a me?” He watches her tuck into the first of the tuna sandwiches. Before she can answer, he takes one of the child-sized quarter squares and puts it, whole, into his mouth, mumbling around the edges in a way that his daughter, Jessica’s mother, would whole-heartedly disapprove of. “And what makes you sure you have one, now?”
She stops eating to think. Being sure is a new concept for things like this. Things just are… Being sure is like… not believing what you know!
Grandad watches her wrestle with that, and, grabbing another square of tuna-filled bread, rolls on to the sand and pats the ground next to her. “Is this you?” he laughs. Looking ruefully at the layer of sand now attached to his sticky fingers.
“No, silly! I don’t start there!”
“Oh!” he says, feigning disappointment. “Where do you start, then?”
“Here, of course!” Jessica says, touching her arm. She thinks about it and touches her foot too, then looks uncertain and spins her hand around her head and shoulders. “Pretty much around the whole thing,” she laughs, touching the sand, just to be certain…
“What about the grass and the beach and the shells and the sand and the sky?” he asks.
She looks perplexed. “Did I forget them. Like, lose them from me?” she asks. “It would be good to have them back!”
“We can work on that when you’re older,” says Grandad Lucca, gazing up from the sand. “For now it’s perfectly wonderful for you to be what you have just cleverly described.” He sits up on one elbow, suddenly noticing that the crown of flowers has nine points in its circle. He smiles, not surprised at the unforeseen synchronicity.
Jessica smiles, happy that her beloved Grandad is happy, too.
The enneagram, also, has nine flowers. The seeds they grow from and how they grow is the story of the individual life of the soul in the body… and its dramatic potential.
End Part Eight.
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