Complete silence seems the wrong environment for meditation and contemplation. I would for ever be listening for any possible noise. All that silence would drive me to distraction.
Sitting on a piece of rock armour on the beach works much better. The slosh of the waves messing about on the shore line is part of the overall effect. The sound becomes part of the meditation itself.
I sat there in what felt like a timeless space. This could be a million years ago, it could be a thousand years into the future.
Marx wrote somewhere – in a surprised tone – that there are some people whose aim is not to think at all. I think he was referring to spiritualists and mystics.
It wasn’t that sort of experience. But there is something to be said for being in the moment.
A little dog skipped into the space and the world of moments came flooding back.
‘Hello’, I said and the dog looked up, bright eyed and smartly turned out in a red and black harness.
Someone called out ‘Ted’ with an imploring undertone of ‘don’t be naughty’.
Which he ignored.
A couple came into view with two other dogs. These also wore black and red harnesses to which were attached leads which they held firmly in their hands.
Why Ted had his liberty was unclear.
‘Lovely day’, they said.
‘I think it’s the best day we’ve had this year’, I held my hand against my forehead to shade my eyes from the lovely sun. It was bouncing light over the waves which sparkled with diamond flashes.
‘It’s like the Mediterranean’, they said, momentarily looking out across the sea to suggest a visual clue.
‘All we need is a taverna and cold beer’.
‘The sea could be a bit warmer though’.
‘Enjoy the rest of your day’, they said and I wished them the same.
Ted had disappeared from view but he’s sure to have done this sort of thing before.
There were three men in a black tent up by the sea defences. They looked a rum lot. The lines of their fishing rods crossed the beach. I looked up as I approached to make sure I didn’t get tangled with them. I forgot all about them.
‘You’re alright mate!’ one of them shouted, bringing me back into the world.
I looked up to where they sat. He had a big wide grinning face and held his thumb up.
His mate did the same, with the hand that wasn’t holding a can of beer.
‘We might even catch something!’ he said as I walked past.
Everyone laughed at this.
Along the beach, an inch or two from the water’s edge. The white foam fizzy on the small stone shingle. Concentrating on how to get as close as possible to the waves without getting wet. It’s the sort of absorption that children as so good at.
All the time the splash and gentle slap of the water.
A group of lorry drivers using a slab of concrete beach defences as a table. It was covered with all sorts of bottles and packets of snacks.
They looked tired and industrial. Working clothes, boots and trainers, strands of untidy hair picked up by the sea breeze. Their faces are a hundred and fifty years old. Lined and creased and the colour of sleepless nights and dirty roads.
Polish? Lithuanian? Rumanian? Ukrainian? They were in a serious conversation.
The politicians in England are flabby and lazy. They spout a bloody froth, slogans they learn from the Daily Mail, regurgitated prejudices and bigotry.
But further east, the politicians talk and practice war.
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