“Oh another one!” she thought as the cliff path rounded and cleared towards a headland. The familiar shape of the outcrop that she had decided was a natural altar. Not ‘another’. The same. The route had brought her round and more quickly than she’d expected she was back below the hotel. Off the path then, and down towards the altar. No-one else within sight or sound.
She walked around it. Contemplated the whole as a cathedral, with the apse behind. Or as a fortress, a bailey beyond. Romantic fantasy. Mere spindrift. She wanted to stay awhile, but the wind whipped up. Down in the hollow behind her altar, she’d be out of the blow, but down there the sea was also mute, and she couldn’t see the white waves rushing the crags.
So back she came.
And the altar became a throne. A seat and backrest and footstool. Jewelled with lichen and adorned with clover.
She sat, and took up her pen, and listened… the thoughts she heard were random…
Letting go is never easy. For fear there is none to catch us if we fall, we dare not fly. For fear of the depths, we cling to the raft and never learn to swim.
They say that living alone is not for the faint-hearted. It is when we’re alone that we see ourselves as we truly are. Not the images and pretences we construct for others. If we are brave enough to look, we see the essence. Not all who look will like what they find…but all who look can change what they find that they do not like…because the looking is done alone. There is no-one to say we can not or dare not or should not.
We should all learn to live alone. Not to choose to do so, but to learn the art of it.
It matters that we should be able to look into our own heart and like what we find there, or change it.
She was content with her soul. It didn’t glitter or sparkle, but had the dull sheen of common humanity, with a spark of fire at its centre.
A lone gull cried…and the molten sea danced in white lace on the hard-rock shore.
It is never easy to stop, or even to walk more slowly…even when we know that the point of the journey is not to reach its end. "Are we there yet?” he’d asked as they wheeled the bed in which he’d die towards the room in which he’d draw his last breath, with the radio playing sad Sunday love songs. The point of the journey is never its end, for any end is just that, an ending. A loss of something that was and is no more.
Except that every end is also a beginning. Where the last move ended, there must the next one begin.
As the lone gull called, another answered, and others flew in to join a forming flock that instantly fell to squabbling…but if you listened closely the squabbles sounded like laughter.
It’s never easy letting go, but you have to stop, to take your eyes of the path and look around…and step off the path and wander down to an empty place, where peace whispers on the wind and there waits an altar-throne of bedrock where clover grows and lichens lay, and the sea and the sky are never lonely in their eternal dance with the land.
Where a thought may be caught.
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