We Walk To The Beach

from Take Me To Your Leader II

 

Demeter, Goddess of nature and fertility, who maintained the rhythm of nature and the circle of life on Earth; the circle of young and old and of life and death. She alternated the seasons and breathed life back into the earth in Spring. Goddess of the Harvest, she is depicted holding a tuft of grain, but I prefer to think of her as a circle of stones, with ancient and immovable strength. For though Demeter was the Earth Mother she was powerful and vengeful. Eaten as soon as she was born by her father, the Titan Cronus because he feared one day his children would usurp him, she was the Mistress of the Labyrinth who brought famine to the Earth and starvation to mankind when her daughter Persephone was stolen by Hades and taken to live in the Underworld.

 

We walk to the beach single file, silently following one another. Almost touching, each person thinking about the one before them. A silent train of people through the landscape.

The tide is out. Sand and stones and seaweed stretch toward the ocean. Far away we hear the sound of the waves, a slow and constant rhythm as they wash in and out across the shore.

In the middle of the beach is a circle made of driftwood. Like a shrine or ancient monument, worn down and made smooth by time and tide.

We begin collecting rocks. No-one speaks. Each person on their own, yet still part of a group, spreading out across the sand before returning to the centre to place their rock in the driftwood circle. We choose our rocks carefully, pausing to feel the weight and volume of each one. Considering the shape, the surface, and the texture, and noting the imprint left in the sand when we pick them up.

The sun grows warmer. The driftwood circle has now become a stone circle, with rocks of all shapes and sizes piled on top of one another. We have been working for nearly an hour, together and in silence.

I walk out across the sand to find my next rock, going further than I have before. I stop, turn around, and look back toward the circle.

I see the beach, and the ocean and the sun shining down on a group of people moving slowly in and out from a central point. They move like slowly spreading ripples intertwining and crossing over each other, dispersing across the sand, gradually moving further and further away before drawing in again, as if brought back by gravity. No two people are at the same point, or walking the same path at the same speed, so the movement is continuous and fluid, with no beginning and no end. As I stand there watching, some distance off and feeling at once a part and outside of this scene, I notice the sound of the tide. That deep and constant sea noise, as it washes endlessly across the shore. The rhythm of the tide coming slowly in and out is echoed by the rhythm of the bodies moving in a strange sort of unison, like the inhalation and exhalation of breath, inwards and outwards across the beach. It was as if the whole landscape was breathing, and our movement was a dance, choreographed by the Earth.

 

I AM AGGRESSIVELY PEACEFUL AND HIPPY AS FUCK AND I WILL NOT BE CONSUMED BY YOUR HIERARCHY YOUR PATRIARCHY YOUR NEO-LIBERAL CAPITALIST DIVIDE AND CONQUER HOPE DENYING ANTI DAY-DREAMING RHETORIC * I WILL BUILD STONE CIRCLES ON THE BEACH AND I WILL CELEBRATE THAT PLETHORA OF SMALL ACTIONS WHICH WEAVE TOGETHER LIKE GOSSAMER THREADS TO MAKE A BANNER OF HOPE TO STRETCH AROUND THIS GALAXY MADE OF GAS AND DUST AND STARS * AND EVERY STAR MAY BE A SUN TO SOMEONE BUT FROM AFAR THIS GALAXY IS ONLY A COLLECTION OF SEASHELLS AND CORALS AND LOVELY FOUND OBJECTS * THE PRODUCTIONS OF NATURE LABOURING FOR AEONS IN THE COSMIC OCEAN *AS DEMETER BROUGHT PERSEPHONE BACK FROM THE UNDERWORLD NOTHING WILL STAY THE SAME * THE CENTRE CANNOT HOLD * THE COSMOS IS ALL THERE IS OR EVER WAS OR EVER WILL BE * IMAGINATION WILL BE OUR RESISTANCE FOR ALL THAT IS SOLID MELTS INTO AIR