Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Excalibur: walking to the edge of the known world.

The tide at Rathtrevor Beach on Vancouver Island goes out for a very long way, so the other day we joined our daughter's family there and soon found ourselves drawn into a walk to the sea. Far in the distance others were doing the same thing; walking to the thin line at the world's end where the land slid beneath the waves. Flat, corrugated by the departed waves into sandy replicas of ripples, pockmarked by clam holes, it felt like we were walking out into foreign territory. Ours was a temporary visa permitting a brief visit before the sea quickly returned to reclaim its territory.

Perhaps it was the soft misty light, the lack of sharp distinctions that lent this simple morning's walk a sense of walking into the land of fairy, of accidentally passing into another dimension - those distant figures way out on the bounds of reality standing looking out to sea, waiting for the sign. We walked and walked far out to the sea's edge and understood the draw, all was wrapped in softness: clouds, the water's surface, even the ghostly gull paddling just beyond the silent little waves that first steepened slightly and then sighed as they slid onto the sand.

If a hand had risen, brandished a sword thrice, and sank back into the depths this would have simply confirmed our sense that we were standing at the world's end with our toes already within another dimension.

Each frothing wavelet pushed farther up the beach, the tide was on the turn and it was time to walk briskly back to solid land, that line of beach logs, grasses and distant trees which spoke of the solid familiar world we normally occupy.

It stayed with me though, that world of the partially seen, the place of dreams and legends that draws us all from time to time, like sleepwalkers, to experience that other kingdom that lies there in the mists at the edge of conscious thought.