Just five minutes…

Half-past six on a Monday and it was not the best of mornings. Grey, overcast and with just enough light creeping over the horizon to make the black dog visible against the shadows as she patrolled the boundary fence. We had both been reluctant to leave our beds and were stiff and struggling to get moving in the cold, pre-dawn air. The long walk through the fields the previous dusk had taken its toll and the prospect of the long day ahead was unappealing. Work and duty called and the clock was ticking.

Like a snowball, time gathers momentum and seems to rush by ever faster as the years pass. It seems only yesterday that a pup and her energetic human had risen in the dark to be out at first light every day. The walks had been playtime and we had bounded through fields and woods together. These days, our forays are rather more sedate… we are neither of us as young as we were. So today, instead of our morning walk, we took time to just be together, the dog and I, as we sat on the doorstep to watch the dawn.

A dark head on my lap, my hands in her warm fur and the canvas of dawn spread above and around us. We are part of the picture… part of this moment in the vast current of eternity. A moment shared, unique in time, though the sun lights every morning of the world. Rose and gold creep over the skyline; shadows deepen for a moment against the blaze. Colour comes back to the earth and a new day dawns.

We watched pink and lilac suffuse the cloudy sky, spreading itself in a great arc over the fields, then fade to grey. Within five minutes, the glory had been swallowed by the nondescript mundanity of a damp, autumn morning. Five minutes, surrounded by beauty, sitting with love and trust. Once more, Nature was our teacher, reminding us to treasure every moment, for none of them will come again and, once missed, they cannot be recaptured…only remembered and kept safe within the heart.

Space and Time

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Consciousness flickers round the edges of dreaming and I become vaguely aware of the delicious luxury of warmth and comfort and a body relaxed and sleepy. It is dark and silent, the dawn will be long in coming, and dreams hover on the edges of mind. The eastern horizon waits for sunrise… and the thought flits through my sleepy mind, that actually, there will be no ‘sunrise’.  The sun does not rise. Ever.

Okay, that woke me up.

It is neither as radical not as weird a thought as many that occupy my mind… it is simply true. The sun does not rise. It hangs in space and we, our planet, are the ones that move. Yet in language, thought and imagery we paint a moving sun that arcs across the heavens, marking the dance of time through our days.

I wonder for just how many millennia we have accepted that idea unquestioning? For a long time we accepted a geocentric model that placed the earth at the centre of a revolving universe. Before that there was a flat earth… and earlier still was the poetry and wonder of myth. Heliocentricity didn’t emerge as a fully formulated idea till Copernicus in the 16th century… and it probably didn’t make its way into the popular mind for a long time after that. Even now, knowing that the truth is other than the evidence presented by our eyes, we still watch the sun ‘rise and set’ aware only of ‘its’ movement, seldom ours. Although we all know the planetary dance these days, few really need to understand it in any depth or detail. We don’t, on a day to day basis, even care whether the sun moves overhead or we circle it.

Perhaps it is more comfortable that way.

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It is a similar story with time… physicists, mathematicians and philosophers all have their own ideas that we, the general public, are unlikely to ever question enough to understand. We look at a clock and that is enough. We do not have to understand Newton, Einstein or Hawking in order to know the moment we have to leave for work or make dinner. Between the apparent motion of the sun and the hands of our clocks we can function within the frame of days.

As the kettle boils, Ani pretends she is a cat, leaning against my legs and rubbing, with one soulful eye on the milk carton. I wonder if she is any more aware of her place in the universe than we are. In some ways there seems little difference. She is aware of what she needs to know… and although insatiably curious and willing to learn, the patterns of behaviour … or misbehaviour… go deep. She knows she will be fed without recourse to a clock, knows she has warmth and cuddles and tennis balls… why should she worry about any more than that? Yet she does and is always on alert. Though that may just be being nosey.

We are not all that much different in many ways and spend our days focussed on the needs and desires that move us through the hours from dawn to dawn. ‘Had we but world enough and time’ what else could we see? Sometimes something will catch our attention and we find ourselves considering new things, or new ways of looking at old ones. Sometimes we make that conscious decision to step outside of the tramlines of need and begin to question a world we seem to be seeing for the first time with a new awareness. It doesn’t take much to bring us to these realisations of possibility if we are open to them… it might be no more than seeing an object with fresh eyes or questioning a long-held belief. Or realising that the sun never rises… it is always there in the heavens.

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The magic of the moment

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There was no way to tell what kind of a morning it would be… except that it had turned cold. Yesterday’s sunshine had been a feint, designed to instil a false sense of security and the rain had a suspicious solidity as it fell to earth.

Dawn hadn’t yet begun to smudge the horizon, a tawny owl called eerily in the gloom and small things skittered unseen through the undergrowth. The small dog, no more than a patch of darker blackness in the shadows, had found a scent and refused to come back before she had investigated. Puddles crunched beneath my feet as I followed her into the little wood.

The darkness deepened. No frost here in the shelter of the trees, but the mud sucked at my shoes, reluctant to release each footfall. Twigs and stubborn leaves brushed my face, catching in my hair, skeletal fingers and unseen hands; clichéd nightmares moving in the mist.

I laughed, the sound slicing the silence. If this were a horror film, people would be on the edge of their seats and calling me all kinds of idiot for walking into the sombre copse. For some reason, though, the mornings do not hold the same potential for fear as the onset of night. And I have the small dog to look after me, not too far away…

…who yelped. A crash in the bushes. A low growl. My heart stopped… and the silhouette of a deer bounded past into the thicker bushes. A flash of pure magic, as if I had stepped through the Veil into another time and place.

The small dog, hot in pursuit, paused briefly by my side, just long enough for me to catch hold of both her harness and reality… I was already running late.

There was just time for a quick coffee before I had to scrape the ice from the car and leave for work. The first glow was playing on the horizon. A river of white light rushed towards me; behind me the river ran red; future and past illumined by the lights of cars flowing to and from the town.

 

I drove east, feeling myself part of a stream that flowed to the staccato rhythm of the windscreen wipers, wishing I had not had to break the spell of the morning. Wishing myself anywhere but on the verge of another day governed by the mechanical metronome of necessity. Yet, the magic goes with us, even into duty.

As I drove and the silhouettes of the trees began to separate from the blackness, the sun began to colour the sky, drowning the limited light of the cars that illuminate only their own direction. Cocooned within my life and habit, I watched as a portal opened in the clouds. It seemed as if humanity were deep within the shadows of a cavern, scurrying like ants in the penumbra, yet looking out onto a landscape of limitless light.

Perhaps we are.

Full Circle: The final curtain…

On most of our workshop weekends, we offer a ‘greeting of the dawn’ at one of the ancient sites. The winter workshops are perfect for this as the sun rises so much later, but as we are at the mercy of the season, the weather and the time local hotels serve breakfast, these are always optional. Usually we choose a place we would not otherwise get to visit, but this time, really, there was only one place to choose… Castlerigg. The stone circle nestles within a circle of hills and there can be few more spectacular settings for an ancient and sacred site.

Not everyone relishes such an early start, and we had made it clear that this would be a brief visit, just for the dawn… we would be gathering there later to end the official part of the weekend. Nevertheless, almost everyone chose to come and greet the birth of morning.

It was still almost dark when the first of us arrived, getting the circle briefly to ourselves. Others arrived shortly afterwards, both from our own party and fellow travellers. It soon became obvious that although we would be there for the dawn, we would not be able to stay for the sunrise. The mountains of the Lake District that ring the circle would not reveal the sun’s face for some time, as it climbed behind the bulk of Helvellyn.

As we gathered to sing a chant to the sun, marking its still-invisible rising, Steve invited three gentlemen who were obviously of our own mind in these matters to join us. We frequently share these sites with others, but we have yet to meet anyone unsympathetic or disrespectful of what we do… and you can usually tell those who will join with us for a moment. Seeds of possibility are planted when you follow such promptings… and these seeds we would see come to fruition later that day.

After we had greeted the sun, we all headed back to our hotels for breakfast and for most to check out. It was typical that our road led us to a gap in the hills where we did see the sun rise in splendour. It would take another hour in the circle, but at least we were able to stop and experience a moment’s glory.

Later, we gathered once more at Castlerigg. This time, we explored the stones, speaking a little of the five thousand year history of the site, its solar alignments and the curious effect where the shapes of the stones shadow the contours of the hills.

We spoke too of resonance… that curious phenomenon where the vibrations in one object will set off a similar vibration in another. We attempted to demonstrate with tuning forks, but the wind…and our lightweight tuning forks… made it almost impossible to hear the sympathetic vibrations. We had used sound at the sacred sites over the weekend in a very simple form. We have used it at other locations in various forms too and each time felt we were brushing the edges of something. How important was sound  and resonance in these circles where the greater reality was recreated in microcosmic form? It was something to ponder.

The theme of our weekend had been ‘finding the way home’. Could the world of our ancestors be considered ‘home’… that staring point of any journey? What did they see as ‘home’? Were these circles designed, at least in part, to allow our ancestors to access the Otherworld… the realm of the stars or the hollow hills…and were these seen as aspects of the same state of being? These are questions to which each must find their own answers, perhaps, but it may be that in asking such questions, we find something we did not know we had lost.

In the shelter of the tallest stone, there was a final meditation, placing ourselves as points of light within the Web of Light, where the heavens and the earth meet, shaped by the energies of star realm and our physical home, one with Creation. There was a simple sharing of the symbolic elements of life… and then it was time to leave. The wind was bitter now that the sun had risen, and a coach full of tourists had just arrived.

We drove to Keswick in search of warmth and coffee, after which life began to call the party back from wherever we had been, somewhere outside of time for a little while. Some took their leave and went off to explore, others shared lunch and wandered down to the lake.

Steve lives in the area and knows Keswick well. We walked along the edge of the park to where he could show us his favourite view. The rise of the land hid the town as he stood with the hills at his back, while before us, the afternoon sun sparkled on Derwentwater, reminding us how short the winter day would be. Walking back to the cars, we took our leave of each other. Most were returning home, but we still had a place or two left to visit… but that is another story.

(Click the highlighted links in the text for more on Castlerigg and its history and a demonstration of sympathetic resonance on Youtube)

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The Silent Eye runs three informal workshops in the landscape each year as well as a residential workshop every April. If you are interested in coming along, further details can be found on our Events page.

Here and now

The problem with living in a downstairs flat is that there is no upstairs. This may sound obvious, but when you have lived in a house almost all your life, with an upstairs, you tend to forget. Many times I have grabbed my camera to head for the upstairs windows, only to realise that the couple who life up there might, possibly, object to me barging in unannounced every sunset and dawn.

My home is on a roughly east-west axis. Just sufficiently ‘off’ to mean that in summer, I can watch the sun rise from my pillow without needing to move. In winter I see the dawn through the garden doors that are, inevitably, already open for the dog.

Sunsets are a bit more problematic. The curve of the houses in my street and the rooftops opposite my kitchen window block most of my view. I get only the spreading colours as the light fades… which is where the upstairs would have come in handy. A little more height and I could see so much.

Yet, as I stood on the doorstep tonight, watching vivid pink and gold soften the sky, I realised how lucky I am to be able to watch the day begin and end, in glowing colours or beneath a pall of roiling clouds,  every single day. City dwellers seldom see much of the skyline and, when work takes me early into town, I miss the dawn as it hides behind the rooftops.

It may be natural to wish for things that are seen, but just out of reach or it may be the way we are conditioned by our society from the earliest age to aspire to ‘something more’. ‘The grass is always greener’ and all that…  But all that happens is that in looking beyond what is to what could be, we shift our focus away from the moment in which we stand and fail to appreciate what it offers. Not only that, but we create dissatisfaction for ourselves, a pressure for change for the sake of change and the stress of always chasing an illusive and elusive ‘something’ that we hope will be better than what we have. How often do we truly look at what we have in gratitude, not with some indefinable yearning?

Does it really matter that I see ‘only’ a sky suffused with colour and not the whole sunset? I could change that… a walk to the fields would give me an unobscured view, but it would take time and effort… a commitment and an active choice. Wishing alone will not get me from here to there… but I need do nothing at all to be here and now.

Every day is different, every dawn and dusk offers new wonders… and it does not matter at all where I am or where I stand. It matters only that I look up and see it as it happens.

Circles Beyond Time – The thrice-risen sun

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We were out long before dawn, driving the few miles to our rendezvous at Fox House, where we would meet our companions. With Sheffield behind us, we saw the sun rise above the distant horizon and watched its soft gold suffuse the sky of the city below as the car climbed the road to the moor. We were taking our little company to a high place to watch the dawn… yet we had already seen the sun rise in splendour.

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Gathering our companions and blessing the fact that they had all risen so early to share the birth of a new day with us, we headed out to Higger Tor, the highest point in the area and an intriguing place in its own right. The views from there are spectacular…and have the added advantage of being only a few minutes walk from the narrow road that winds its way across the moor.

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Our timing was perfect. We reached the top with just a few moments to catch our breath before we gathered to greet the sun, with a chant that echoed back across millennia to ancient Egypt. The sun’s timing was prefect too, but then, it always it… it is we who rise too late. Climbing above the hills beneath which the city sleeps, the solar disc crested the horizon as the final chants rang out and bathed the world in gold.

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The photographer at the other end of the plateau must have wondered what on earth was going on…or maybe he, who rises early to catch the first rays of the golden hour, understood. We did get the impression that our presence was less than welcome…and we can understand that too; these early morning moments are special and seem, somehow, very personal. It is as if, standing before the sun, the world falls away and you come face to face with great Nature… and the Source of that great outpouring of life that stands behind her. True awe is not something we feel in our workaday lives as a rule, yet the miracle of a perfect sunrise reminds you of more than beauty.

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Deep shadows and gilded mist make these first moments of the day magical. We wandered across the top of the plateau, looking out over the valley below and far across to the distant peaks, each with their own stories and legends to tell. You are around 1500 feet above sea level here and birds fly beneath you, skimming the early mist as seagulls skim the sea.

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The mysterious bulk of Carl Wark was wreathed in swirling shapes, shifting and changing as if the spirits of the place had taken the morning mists to clothe their essence and make it visible, just for a moment, as the mistwraiths danced. From here the scale of the immense wall built across the hillfort thousands of years ago is made clear and the relationship between the two sites is both evident and full of unanswered questions.

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The growing light began to reveal the details of the landscape. We began to be able to see  some of the places we had been, some of the roads we had travelled to get there and others we were yet to know. From this high place, we could see how they related to one another, making patterns in the landscape visible only because of our experience of it…making sense of the disconnected moments.

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The plateau slopes down here, dipping towards Hathersage and, as we once again turned to the east, we saw the sun crest the horizon yet again, thrice-risen for us that day. It was a strange feeling, for the dawn comes but once, but it was only with its third rising that the land moved from night to full day. It is even stranger when you really think about it…which we do not, accepting a daily dawn as part of the way things are.

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The sun never, ever sets… it does not move from its point in space, nor does it sink into obscurity. It is the Earth that turns her back, turning away from a light that never fades and we believe that it has departed into the night. These days, we know that… yet  we persist in our illusion of day and night because that is how it touches our senses. We know otherwise, but our experience is not one of ceaseless light, but of an alternating gift and loss.

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Though we raise our eyes and our voices to greet the dawn, we do not worship the sun as we are told our ancestors did, as the source of all life, though we honour its place in the incredible beauty of creation.  We raise our eyes and hearts to a symbol of something too vast and too bright to see… and symbolically, as well as in beauty, this was a perfect dawn. For us too, the Light may seem lost as life turns us away through the need to earn our place in the world. Darkness may take us and leave us feeling alone, lost and bereft… yet the Light never leaves us. We just fail to see that it is there.

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We carry the Light into the world at our birth, often losing sight of it as we learn to move through the intensity and awkwardness of youth; it is never absent, only lost to consciousness. We may choose to turn and watch it dawn once more… standing in silent awareness as it reveals the true and rocky landscape of our lives to our understanding. And we may be graced with a third dawn that once again brings us into the realisation of a Light that never left us. Thus, for each of us, there may be a thrice-risen Sun.

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Twin suns…

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“…It is at this point that Ben decides to leave us and heads off into the quarry which lies behind our vantage point on ‘an errand’.

 

“He’s burying the stones we were going to be lugging over the moor,” says Wen.

“How do you know they’re stones?”

“I don’t,” says Wen, “but I bet they are.”

“I didn’t know you were the betting sort,” say I, “but you’re probably correct.”

 

Wen moves off back up the track heading out to the moor beyond.

 

Just then the leading edge of the sun disk crests the cloud and a sliver of sunlight arrows out over the moor.

 

I run back to the edge of the quarry and shout down to Ben that the sun is up.

As the full face of the solstice sun finally emerges, it ‘sees’ us like this…

Ben in a hole…

Me on the lip of the hole…

Wen about to lead us higher up the moor…

Extract from Doomsday:Scions of Albion by Stuart France and Sue Vincent

***

There is always a certain amount of uncertainty about a dawn. It is in that moment, when we wait for the future to become the present, that we connect unconsciously with the past. We naively assume that our ancestors awaited the daily miracle of sunrise, not knowing if the great Eye would open to illuminate the day or remain closed, keeping the world in inescapable darkness.We stand on the edge of a tenebrous wilderness, scanning the skyline, waiting to see if our timing is right and the weatherman reliable. Will we see the dawning sun crest the horizon… or only the flush of light behind the pall of cloud?

We never really know. We can only take the time on trust and await the pleasure of Great Nature as the dawn unfolds.

There is something sacrificial about such moments… sleep curtailed, a warm bed abandoned, breakfast postponed and the morning braved, regardless of the chill in the air or the vagaries of the weather. You climb to your chosen vantage point…and then you wait. You have checked the sunrise tables and know, as accurately as possible, the time that dawn will creep above the dark earth at that particular spot. You do not know whether or not the sky will be clear enough to see, how light or dark the path before your feet will appear and whether sunshine or rain will be your lot. Yet all these are things that can be addressed with a little planning and preparation; warm clothes, good footwear and a chocolate bar in the pocket serve to cover the practicalities.

Yet, in spite of all your meticulous planning and best calculations, Nature is still in charge. How long will the sun take… beyond the technical time of dawn… to actually climb from below the eastern horizon to its place above the line of hills that now block your vision? Will the big, black cloud thicken and steal ‘your’ dawn, or part to shower gold at your feet? You do not know… but you wait.

The numinous space between night and day, you  are poised between doubt and trust, fear and hope, with eyes and heart open to the light… The crossroads of the day lie before your feet, signposting the choices the moment asks of you… and offering you a moment to affirm your self-definituon; yours is the choice….sleep or waking, oblivion or awareness… is yours to breathe, drinking its presence as the dew… yet once you have made that choice, like the ancestors, all you can do is wait and trust…surrendering to the greater will of natural law.

Sometimes that trust is rewarded in unexpected ways. You see asea of mist spread out beneath your feet like a pathway to the Otherworld, long before the sun rises…

You watch the dawn over the valley… then see the sun rise again above the hills where you stand… a twin dawn…

You watch a sky aflame with liquid light, gilding the world, revealing its contrast and colours…

Every dawn is a miracle, every sunrise both affirmation and new beginning…

***

Nick Birds SE Ilkley 2015 (7)

Join us in September as the seasons turn once more to walk forgotten pathways across the moors to circles  lost in the bracken. Learn of the dreams of a mysterious  Seer, a lifetime echoed in stone and whispered through time as we explore the sacred landscape of Derbyshire. In the solitude of the moors, the voices of the past seem to reach through the land and touch your heart, finding there a continuous thread of light that winds through the ages as each soul asks its own questions, the same questions that have been asked for millennia.

Based around the Fox House, Hathersage, we will spend the weekend exploring some of the neolithic  and sacred sites of the area, culminating in a trip to Arbor Low, the ‘Stonehenge of the north’. Each attendee will be asked to bring a short reading or to share a story that seems appropriate to the moment and we will talk as we walk, finding inspiration in the land and in our companions.

These events are not large, just a small and intimate group and a warm, informal atmosphere.

For those thinking of attending the Silent Eye’s Annual Workshop, The Feathered Seer, at Great Hucklow in April 2017, Circles Beyond Time will be of particular relevance as the story that will unfold during The Feathered Seer will be set in this particular part of the ancient landscape.

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When: Weekend of 9th to 11th September 2016.

Where: Based at the Fox House inn near Hathersage, Derbyshire, England.

Who: An informal weekend with the Silent Eye, open to all who wish to attend.

Cost: £50 per person, accommodation and meals are notincluded and should be booked separately.

Why: Explore an ancient and sacred landscape and how it is still relevant to each of us today.

How: Email us at rivingtide@gmail.com to reserve your place.

Leaf and Flame: Solar Symbol

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There was a full moon as we walked back from the inn on the Friday night and the moon greeted us the following morning, sailing across a pastel sky. It has become something of a tradition to greet the dawn on our weekend workshops. The sortie is not obligatory, but every year a goodly party of us will wake and walk up onto the hillside. In the past there have been strange sights as the pre-dawn light has fallen upon robed figures and  gilded Egyptian gods… This time there was only a group of friends sharing a moment of peace and wonder…and sharing the telling of an ancient story as we waited for the sun to lift a new day over the horizon.

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There is a special kind of magic at work when you watch the dawn. The day takes on a new ‘feel’… it becomes a truly personal experience with a vivid awareness of the rhythm of life. You hear the first bird lift its voice in song, watch the first stirrings of the lambs in the field and feel yourself a part of the one song of the universe.

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We climbed over the stile, taking up a position where we knew we had a clear view of the eastern horizon and waited for the newly risen sun to show itself above the hills. While we waited, each of the Companions present read a part of the Tale of the Wondrous Head. This was a central part of the weekend, reaching back through the centuries to a time when both psychology and spirituality was expressed in stories… and where the inexpressible meaning of symbolism was readily understood. As the light flared, voices were raised in a paean to the Light that has been known by many names and symbols.

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We walked back to the centre uplifted, exhilarated. There was laughter…long before breakfast… and just time for a coffee before the morning meditation. The Companions had already been contemplating the nature of the images drawn from the Green Knight’s head the evening before and the meditation was designed to begin to forge a personal connection with the animal spirit it represented. What we didn’t know was how well that would tie in with the talk given by Running Elk… or where that contact would lead us.

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Fool’s dawn

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I followed the sound of laughter down the hallway to my son’s bedroom, curious as to the cause. “A champion,” read my son out loud, still lying in bed at half past nine with another cup of tea, “is one who gets up when he can.” I’m not entirely certain he was taking that quote the way it was intended, but I couldn’t argue with the facts.

I could, technically at least, lay claim to some such accolade under those terms… but having got up and taken the dog out by half past five myself, I am more inclined to think that makes me more of a madwoman than a champion. Except, perhaps, in the eyes of a certain small dog.

Leaves are piling up, stripped from the trees and in daylight they look like jewels spilled from a treasure chest. Being pitch black out there at that time though and raining to boot, I didn’t take the camera, nor would the silent shadow of an owl that parted the air above us have shown up on a picture. I regretted leaving the camera at home though when the dawn finally came up. The sky was an amazing canvas of pink and gold; a gentle dawn contrasting with the wind and rain overnight and no true herald of the howling gales to come.

I know old countryfolk and seafarers can read the skies and tell what the weather will be, fair or foul. To most of us, that gorgeous dawn would have held the promise of a beautiful day. Certainly it was enough to lift the lowest heart. Sometimes it is the mists that veil the coming of sunshine, sometimes the palette of the angels holds out a hope of beauty that is drowned by the rains. You can’t really tell without that inside knowledge born of intimate association with the skies.

Our own days are like that too in many ways. What seems to be a wonderful occurrence may hold pain, yet a seeming disaster may unfold into beauty. In their own moment, it is impossible to tell where any event may lead or what may come from a single instant’s choice. It is also pretty much impossible to follow every thread and filament that reaches out into the world and its future from an isolated scintilla of time.

I watched a film the other night, The Saragossa Manuscript, that illustrated how closely every story is intertwined and how seemingly unconnected events may, in fact, be the threads that form warp and weft of the same tapestry… each one contributing to a greater picture that can only be seen when observed from a distance. In this case, you had to be the watcher who saw the stories revealed on film. Sometimes we observe the same phenomena as we watch events working themselves out in the lives of friends and families. We itch to tell them what we can see, to make them see, just as we know when the monster will come up behind the next victim in a movie or we know the true feelings of hero for heroine but they seem blind to each other’s hearts. It is easy for the observer to see what is not calling upon their own intimate involvement.

It is much harder to see the patterns in our own lives. We are just one of the threads of the tapestry… a single strand of colour that makes little sense on its own. Yet we do observe ourselves. There is that inner watcher, and inner voice… consciousness and conscience, the other level of awareness that sees and examines our thoughts and motives all the time. We may ignore it, but we know it knows and eventually we will listen and begin to question our observation of ourselves.

That listening process is part of maturing… we tend to listen more as we grow up and grow older. This is also the basis of many techniques, such as mindfulness which has come very much to the fore over recent years. It is also the premise by which the maxim ‘know thyself’ can be applied to everyday life, something that forms a core part of the techniques we share in the Silent Eye. Strangely enough, it is through listening to the inner voice of awareness, becoming, in a way, seemingly more introspective, that we find a way to step back from our own lives and get a better look at the design of the tapestry. And getting a glimpse of that bigger picture brings a new confidence that we can take forward with every step.

Which is why, although the dog may feel I am a champion for taking her out so early, and I may have seen the day begin with a promise of beauty, we were both doomed to disappointment. For me, it was the clouds that rolled in on the gales… for the dog, well, as long as she doesn’t realise that her champion is really a Fool, we’ll be okay.