Sat April 6th 2019

What if it all ends?
Let it end - let the sand win.
Sky and earth go on
- Olga Kenyon, 'Advice to Self'

Maybe not all dreams mean something but maybe some dreams do.

Meditating for around 20 mins a morning these days; an introduction with an LSD-playlist song, zazen, metta, closing with another LSD track; stirring up if just for a moment a feeling and openness to the sacredness of life, of the world; gratitude and compassion and self-less-ness. Today I'll drop another 50ug of LSD and go for a walk in the national park; a new fortnightly tradition.

Last time I did this, I stood alone in an open field, lost in a cold blue blue sky and blustering wind, looking out over the patchwork hills, distant roads, crows playing along the treeline. 'Alive', I spoke to myself, 'I'm alive', even as the 'I' was loosening, fluttering and flapping on the wind like laundry hung out to dry.

Staying in Scarborough last week, I dreamed I was one of a casual global group of people who knew about the secret doorways and hidden realms of the world; you could reach them by pulling to one side an old concrete block maybe, or taking just the right turn in the forest path and stepping just so; walking with friends down an alley by the Elephant and Castle shopping centre I was dazzled by how gorgeous and beautiful the world was, the flaked fading blue of the walls and the hasty graffitti, the broken slabs of concrete and the howling howling wind. We passed a well dressed trio who looked to be carrying out a summary execution and, concerned, made out way inside to a cramped corridor; they followed us and one of our group began calmly but hastily punching numbers into a phone hanging on the wall, 'quickly' we said, 'don't worry, we'll make it' he replied, as the gang pushed through the door and started arguing with us, threatening us, eventually pulling a gun just as he said 'now!'

I smiled and knocked the passcode on the cold plaster wall as I turned to the woman holding the gun, 'hey don't worry' I said, 'it's all good, baby it's all good'

And was vortexed out, me and the world stretching and shattering in a gasp, a heartbeat, swirling almost instantly again back into real space, sat on the back of a horse and cart carrying bails of hay through the dales, a beautiful day, some procession up front and a friend at my side; black suit and bowler hat. He turns to me, 'I wish I could be one of those people who are changed forever by the afterglow'.

The world is gorgeous, peaceful, a patchwork landscape rolling around me, down into the river valley and up to the hilltops.

'People expect a panacea', I say. 'They want it to make everything better. The thing is', and here a swell of grief and agony and sorrow, regret, loss builds in my chest, 'it all hurts so much', and I'm snapped awake, panting, in the predawn light on my bed in a hotel by the sea.


'But WHY do people have to die?'

Bella had asked last night, while we were out for a meal. I'd over-ordered, but it was all delicious - creamy saag paneer, bombay potatoes, vegetable balti. She was in a curious mood - why are stars so far apart, why is there no gravity in space - why do people stop growing, why do they get old, why do people have to die?

'To make room for new people!' I'd answered, giving her a simple version of a reasonable biological answer.

'So why doesn't God just make the world bigger?'

The perils of bringing a child up Catholic. Her mum waved a fork, 'well now you are talking about faith, and your uncle is all about science'


The swell of grief and loss had woken me, but I was at peace there, in the room by the sea, in the pale pre-dawn light. I heard her voice asking again, but why do people have to die? And I gave her my full answer.

'You can't have one without the other; just like you can't have sound without silence, or light without dark. And if there was no silence, everything would be a cacophany of constant noise - there'd be no music. If everything was light, we'd all be blinded. You might as well ask, why do people have to live?'

I got up, slowly, slowly pulled on some jeans, a top, fleece, coat, trainers. I stepped out into the still predawn air, and walked down to the coast.

It was high tide; waves were smashing over the sea wall and I kept to the land side of the coastal road to avoid getting soaked. The water churned, the immensity of it somehow seeming to slow down the breeching and crashing of the waves, white foam rearing almost leisurely into the air, against concrete and rock. In the distance, over shallow reefs, the sea swirled and swelled, relentless. Eventually I stepped down onto sodden sand, and stood.

Gulls wheeling ahead, the sky thin black ink, the water endless, crashing and hissing, heedless of me or mine. I stood watching the world, occasionally darting back as the water rolled in too close, and evetually twilight washed away to pale pink and yellow, the waters becoming copper and silk as the skies became gold.


Later that day, by the same stretch of coast, the tide had receded and the girls giggling as they dared the sea, dipping their hands in cold retreating waves and skipping back squealing delighted as another crested and splashed towards them, washing away their brief footprints in sodden sands.