Sunday, November 10, 2013

Remembrance beach



This is a photograph I took yesterday, rounding the headland onto Slapton Sands. We were taking a shortcut back, now that the tide had retreated, aching legs not fancying the upward, downward climb we had taken outwards, earlier over the cliffs.

Slapton, shown below, was infamously where a trial landing for D-Day in 1944 went disastrously wrong and almost a thousand American soldiers were killed as a result both of German attack and ill co-ordinated 'friendly fire'!

It is a history that on Remembrance weekend was close to memory yet distant from the actuality of present place: a serene beach held on a perfect early November day, sea stilled in peacefulness.

The gap between the unfolding 'suchness' of the world and our willingness to bend it out of shape, to do it violence, was vividly present.

I remembered a dream I had when I found myself on a tropical beach at night, the sea charged with phosphorescence, meeting Fr Bede Griffiths, Benedictine monk and Indian sage, of orange robe and fulsome white beard and a young woman, of flowing golden hair and white dress, inviting me to dance and me joining the ring, dancing on the water's edge.

I found myself thinking 'make dance, not war' and seeing that the world's natural unfolding is more akin to the improvised yet patterned nature of dance than it is to the orders of conflict.

How much more welcome would it be to all the young men who died (and killed) at Slapton that they danced instead, pressing their footsteps into the sands together?

They dance now in the rungs of heaven homed to them. May those rungs ever more deeply infect our world - thy kingdom come!




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