SHE CAUGHT A TWIST OF LIGHT BETWEEN HER FINGERS
AND BLEW IT INTO THE SLEEPING SPHERE.
LIGHT ERUPTED UPON THE STORM OF DUST CLOUDS
THAT STARTED TO FLOW INTO THE LIMITLESS UNIVERSE.
Just as I began to think that nothing would happen1 all hell broke loose behind me, some-where back from the cliffs edge. The sun broke free from the early morning mist and blinded me for a moment. I turned in the direction of the commotion but as ancient Pascoe had once pointed out, nothing in nature is more likely to disrupt even a simple action than nature itself. The sun still danced for my eyes.
Behind me appeared Curnow, huge, gangling, and an unlikely lover hotly pursued by his angry wife. Rumours of her husband’s latest affair had spread rapidly the night just past. They appeared from the shadow of their farm buildings, she still with the milk bucket, a weapon, in her hand. Milk splashed onto the purple heather in the mad rush down the cliff path. I stood then, unsure of what would happen next. The pair ran passed the rocky outcrop where I had laid down to watch the coming dawn, the wife shouting mindless accusations and threats.
Curnow was laughing, the thought of his alleged affair a great joke and for some perverse reason being found out even funnier. Suddenly both he and I saw the object of the rumours, the woman, standing naked at the path’s end where steps led down to a small inlet. Curnow stopped dead in his tracks, his wife cannoned into his back and both went down in a tangle of arms and legs. All three of you were standing now, unable to find any words. Had you,, you would have been interrupted by the bucket bouncing repeatedly off the granite cliff face to land finally in the sea. The last of milk dis-coloured the surface briefly before both disappeared beneath the waves.
Bad move. You turned to pick up your robe. The wife began to scream at you. More than intrigued I began to walk, to join this strange tableaux. And with sudden decisiveness you walked too, around the cliff edge bounding the inlet to the headland. The robe joined the discarded bikini on the ground. I began to run. I was close enough when suddenly you turned and looked at me.
I saw both embarrassment and sadness in your expression. Then you were gone, arching away from the cliff in a beautiful dive; the sun shining through the trees dappling your perfect body in a moving kaleidoscope of light and shade. You made almost a silent entry into the sea. We saw no more of you.
We searched for the rest of the morning Curnow and I. His wife ran back and phoned the inshore lifeboat, soon joined by a flotilla of local fishermen, all of whom had secretly and some not so secretly fallen in love with this beautiful and enigmatic woman who had come to live amongst us.
A FALLING TOGETHER
AND ALL BETWEEN DANCED A TWIST OF LIGHT
Morag stepped out into the street and laid a box of cabbages before the shop window. Janner walked slowly by. The hole in his sweater seemed larger now, extending near down to his waist. Morag smiled. Janner puffed harder on his pipe. She busied herself with more boxes.
A strange name for a Cornish woman. Her family had moved up— country generations ago, yet she alone had returned and bought the shop.
A foreigner, treated kindly, but still a foreigner.
Silence broken, six cars close together, drove by. Each driver wore the white peaked cap of the military returning home after an night exercise.
Life in Janner’s opinion was unkind; he had to work. The sun was well above the horizon and the south- westerly breezes circulating the crystal clear air long before he arrived at his lobster pots. Rumour had it that certain worldly wise lobsters used to rest up overnight in Janner’s pots, then be away long before he began to stir the breakfast coals in his range.
Many in the small winding streets were startled into wakefulness as a hubcap flew off the leading car and clattered across the cobbles. The cars stopped. Janner who appeared to be the target raised a foot pinning the hubcap to the ground. Navy stepped out of his car and held out his hand.
“Thank you Janner”.
Recognition came slowly. The familiarity of the strong features and a voice that quite often used to say, “Would you like a pint Janner”, began to ring a bell. Janner groaned and picked up the hubcap.
“Yes, yes thank you Janner. And you?”
But Janner was away to his boat to join the search. Net curtains fell closed about them.
TO THE LIGHT SHE GAVE LIFE.
WITH SIGHT, HEARING AND THOUGHT BUT
AN EMPTY MIND
THE LIGHT BEGAN TO OBSERVE ALL LIFE
THAT BEGAN TO EVOLVE UPON THE PLANETS.
AND THE LIGHTS WISDOM BEGAN TO GROW
Small boats crisscrossed the waters between the shore and island, searching small inlets, caves and tidal pools. Ned Williams took his boat seaward following the current as it swung out passed the southernmost headland.
The postman walked into the new estate. He thanked God that the village was in two parts. This half with its neo Georgian monstrosities was at least a mile inland from the fishing cove. He prayed again that the old and the new would never meet. Just one field on each side of the road separated them now.
Finally he was done and leaving the estate he entered a narrow lane that wound down a valley to the Manor House. As he passed through the roughhewn granite gate posts he, as usual, silently cursed the Major, whose worsening financial affairs had led the wretched man to sell most of his estate to the developers. He rang the bell.
“Morning Major. That young woman, the pretty on, staying at the old coastguard cottage, well she dived off the cliff. Can’t be found”.
“My God” exclaimed the major. Glancing over his shoulder at where his wife was quietly shelling pees. He added in a whisper, “Better launch the boat, join the search. They are Searching?”
“Oh yes Major. They’re all be searching”.
Willy Hendra rose late from his bed. He had been called, by one of his sons bearing the news, Willy dressed hurriedly and raced for the only public bench in the village square and prepared to set up court. Under his cold and accusing stare, a family of holidaymakers stood up apologetically and moved away.
Five of his nineteen children joined him. As to their many mothers the local betting fraternity and certain observant members of the W.I. had lost count. Some of the mothers lived off the Lizard. One such was singled out for special attention and of whom it was whispered angrily, “She lives in Porthleven”. Willy expanding his tribe of siblings anywhere in Cornwall was largely forgiven but not Porthleven! No love lost there and the one black mark against Willy’s record.
“Where”, demanded Willy “did she go in?”.
“Just along from the fishing cove, below Curnow’s farm”.
“Near enough Boy. We must launch the boat”
Willy’s reputation was in tatters~ He had made no headway at all with the young woman and thus he was firm in his resolve that he would be the one to rescue her.
“George got the boat. He be already out looking Dad”,
“What’ yelled Willy.
“The boat. George got the….”
“Come on”, shouted Willy heading the charge down to the cove,
AND SUCH LIFE WOULD EXPAND THROUGH THE UNIVERSE TO LIVE, TO DIE AND FUND MORE LIFE.
TO EXPERIENCE, THROUGH MANY LIFETIMES, GREAT POVERTY, RICHES, AND ALL OF THE EMOTIONS THAT EXIST BETWEEN.
Lunch passed. The villagers gathered on the green. The riotously happy children in fancy dress. Gaily decorated carnival floats appeared from the main street. A brass band, imported from a neighboring village struck up a bracing march.
The village men stood around the beer tent in tight little knots, silently sharing the loss of the woman. Their wives sullen, angry, jealous of their husbands grief, served behind the stalls. The carnival went badly for all but the children, Towards the end of the afternoon a navy search helicopter which had responded to the increasing pessimism of the coastguards, paused briefly overhead as it returned to its base. Those watching distinctly saw the winchman give a thumbs-down.
Later the pub turned into a house for a wake. The mood was only broken when Curnow, more silent than most, was ordered home by his wife who encouraged him by thrashing him over the head with a pair of mackerel won earlier at the carnival.
SHE SOON TIRED OF THE GAME AND CAME ONTO HIM.
HE SCOLDED HER FOR THE INVENTION OF THIS TOY, THIS PLAYTHING, REMINDING HER THAT THERE WERE FAR MORE IMPORTANT DUTIES THAT SHE SHOULD PERFORM.
Sunset set found me again sitting on my rocky outcrop, staring down into the sea. A noise distracted my un-happiness and I turned and looked in the direction of the ancient stone circle. And there she was, the woman still naked leaning against the central stone,
I walked towards her, threading my way through circle of stones. I tried to keep my eyes from her beautiful body, As I came near I reflected that it was little wonder that every man in the village had fallen in love with her, Her smile, I saw, was again tinged with sadness, “Cornwall is so beautiful”, she said softly, I was taken aback by the unexpectedness of her words. Although, quite what I had expected her to say I had no idea. I tried to capture her mood.
For want of a reply I said, “Giants walked here and little people, Here I feel at one with nature; with history.
“I know”, and repeated the words again, almost to herself, Her eyes looked straight into mine. “I didn1t have an affair with Curnow, or anyone”.
“I think I knew that all along”, I answered, inwardly embarrassed. I hadn’t thought that at all, “Jealousy’, I continued, trying to conceal my lie “even the most distant and unjustified variety has a strange effect on people”.
She smiled as the sun prepared for its final descent into the mirror like sea, casting blood red colours both upon the stone and the body of the woman. The sun danced for my eyes.
I froze as a white light began to radiate from her brow, I could look no further. Through my eyelids the colours altered coalescing finally into a blue pyramid shape that slowly faded.
I opened my eyes when? Minutes, hours later? The woman had disappeared. My mind, or the part of it not paralyzed by the event, began to speculate that this time her disappearance was for good. Suddenly Her mind briefly seemed to mesh with mine. I reeled at the power of that infinite love. One thought of hers remained with me.
‘In the end ye shall find a beginning”.
YET SHE FELT COMPELLED TO RETURN AND
GENTLY TOUCH THE TWIST OF LIGHT
SEEK KNOWLEDGE OF ALL THAT HAD HAPPENED
IN HER ABSENCES
ã Andy Reeve (Oct 2007)
A story of life in a Cornish fishing village as it was thirty years ago when some of the old ways still existed and before such life was diluted by the influx of foreigners.
It is also interleaved with a spiritual story bordering on fantasy.