I am going to start with his story. I don’t know why, there is no conscious rhyme nor reason to it. It is simply that he popped into my head the other day and his story is asking to be told. It is a beautiful story, of one man and his at-one-ment.
Here is the story.
When the great wheel began to turn another notch, the darker winter skies gave way to lighter with the onset of spring, many a balmy early eve as I walked my dogs along the beach it was as if we had the whole world to ourselves. Just the three of us. Some sea birds for company, the occasional buzzard soaring high above, blackbirds in the bushes along the shore line, singing their evening songs and the gentle sound of the lapping sea at the shore. The weather was warm, warm enough to walk barefoot in the sand and to paddle in the sea. Late March, early April, still all quiet before the tourists began to arrive in our village, calm clear blue seas and clear blue skies. The sun began to set around seven or after and dusk would begin to fall. Life was beautiful. I used to play with my dogs for hours on the beach, splashing and paddling in the sea. They were blessed evenings.
One evening, a stranger appeared on our shore.
I saw him at first as a dot in the distance on the beach. As we drew closer, the dot gradually took the form of a man. He was of medium height, stocky and well built, tight curly short, military style, croped hair. He was in swimming shorts and stood with a hand held fishing net in his hands.
What drew my attention though was his motionlessness. He was standing on the sea shore, about 6 meters from the sea. The only movement was the rising and falling of his chest with each breath he took in and exhaled out again. His gaze was fixed out to sea.
We walked past him, my dogs, ever friendly, went to him to check him out but he didn’t even twitch. He had an air of such calm about him. So peaceful. He had such a graceful elegance, coupled with well diciplined, finely honed power. It was as if he was there, yet at the same time he was in another world. Perhaps even of another world. One foot here, one in Other.
We carried on our way.
I was fascinated though. Something about him had me under a spell of curiosity. So I sat down on the sand much further away with the dogs and watched him from a safe distance. We sat there for about an hour, us watching him watching the ocean. He was blending himself with the ocean, becoming one with the ocean and his environment.
Then, at last…movement. Like something he had seen, or an invisable voice had told him that it was time, he walked calmly into the sea. After wading in so far he crouched into a hunting position, his body low to the water, his net ready. Every muscle in his body was sprung, finely tuned and poised, motionless, ready for the strike. Just like the praying mantis.
Then, in one fluid movement, he cast his net…
and it was done.
He came out with a big fish. The actual hunt in the water was what, not even ten minutes. But his preparation was long. Stilling his body and mind, becoming One with all around him.
He became a regular sight on our evening beach walks that early spring; and it became a ritual of mine to watch his ritual and yes, every time he caught a fish. Our ritual continued up until the tourist season started again and I was back into the full swing of work and summer life at the restaurant. When the tourist season came to an end and I had the time to resume my long evening beach walks with my dogs, I looked for him, but I never saw him again. His lesson has stayed with me though. He has formed a thread, woven into the fabric of memory.