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Here is the next installment of Beatrice Allen Page’s unpublished manuscript, Landscape With Figures:

“I stood on the beach at the edge of the incoming tide, looking out toward the horizon. It was late morning and an onshore wind was just beginning to whip up. The whole ocean came rushing at me in a succession of waves, not threateningly but with the exhilaration of children racing for the fun of it. Each wave, gathering speed and fullness as it rolled nearer the shore, mounted to its culminating incurve and crashed in a shatter of white spray like a burst of laughter. Then as it flung itself upon the sand, it was magically transformed into a lace mantilla. But only for a moment. It was immediately drawn back into the water, leaving just a wavering, foamy fringe that was promptly covered and absorbed by the next wave completing its course.

As always, the multiplicity of rhythms fascinated me. There was a rhythm in the making and breaking of each individual wave. There was a rhythm in the relationship of the waves to one another in their long rush from the horizon, and also in the sidelong border they made along the beach, not breaking simultaneously but in a successive movement, a kind of arpeggio. And underneath it all was the long, slow pulsation of the incoming tide. I began to feel permeated with all the rhythms as if they were inside me as well as outside.

Then for a second, perhaps only a fraction of a second, there came over me once again that haunting sensation that the scene I was looking at was true but it was not the whole truth, that only an invisible veil separated the two and I could almost…almost…see through it. On the other side of it something stirred as imperceptibly as a bird’s intake of breath before the outpouring of song. Once more I stood on figurative tiptoe, holding myself utterly still, fearful that even the beating of my heart might break the spell.

The moment passed, the nebulous glimpse vanished. The actual scene before my eyes seemed even more beautiful than before but the vision of something ‘other’ had eluded me once again by a hair’s breadth, and once again I was left with a feeling of mingled loss and joy, of wordless wonder which gradually faded as subtly as the color fades out of the sky at sundown. Only the memory of the joy I had felt, not the joy itself, was left.

Now as I write this in the evening, I find that I am left with something more than a memory; I am left with a conviction. I no longer feel I must try to explain away those few fleeting ineffable moments in my life as some kind of psychological illusion. I trust these hints and implications of ‘beyonding’ or a ‘within-ness,’ of a Reality beyond reality that cannot be reached by reason or greater knowledge, not be a more-ness of what we already have and are, but only by a moreoever-ness, a quantum jump (to borrow the phrase again) to another orbit of awareness or being.

I could believe that when Thoreau made his famous remark about the person who keeps pace to the beat of a different drum than his companions hear, he was referring not just to a difference in individual temperament or goals, but to that other orbit or dimension, of which most of us, most of the time, are quite unconscious.”

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