We stopped for lunch in a surfer’s cafe in Rhosneigr very close to the sea. Once refreshed we were to go down to the beach to choose a stone for a simple but moving ritual at our final destination. Two of us left as soon as we had eaten. I live about as far from the sea as you can get in Britain and seldom get the chance to play on beaches, so take any opportunity I can get to be close to the waves.
The sun was already low in the the sky, but still it felt like spring. My companion declined my offer to have a paddle whilst the others finished lunch, which was probably sensible, if disappointing. It was December after all and although the unusually mild weather was balmy, doubtless the sea would have proved to be a more wintry environment. Instead, we watched the sun sparkle on the water, reflecting the heavens on earth.
We started looking for our pebbles, drawn to the white ones as much for their symbolism as for the fact that they draw the eye. Working with the symbolism of the School, we had a fair idea of what would be required and why. We looked too at the curious formation of the blue-black rocks. Some of the rocks that emerge through the sand go back to the Pre-Cambrian era that began four and a half billion years ago and you can see the folds created by pressure as the earth, as we know it, began to shape itself.
It is a curious feeling to consciously stand with such an unimaginable span of time beside the ceaseless motion of the sea. Beneath our feet, the sand, each grain formed from what has gone before…and in it, our footprints. The marks of our presence are deep enough to raise ridges and cast shadows. Each foot that passes leaves its unique imprint, changing the surface utterly… for a little while. The marks are as transient as our little lives upon the earth and are soon erased by the movement of the waters that shift and shape the land.
We were soon joined by our companions and spent a little while, each of us, searching for our stones. I would have happily pottered on the beach all afternoon at any other time, examining stones and exclaiming at the beauty of the shells… listening to the cry of the gulls. There is something about the seashore that awakens the inner child. Perhaps it is because where sky, land and sea meet and we become children again as our Mother looks on and feel secure in Her presence.
It was, therefore, with a mixture of reluctance and excitement that we left the beach behind us. We had one more site to visit before our final destination of the day and it was a rather special one. We drove to a deserted bay as the shadows grew longer and the winter afternoon drew towards its close, bathing the world in golden light…