During last summer at the Findhorn Foundation I began to make lines in the shale edge on Findhorn Beach; placing stones of similar colours in rows of white, red, yellow, blue. This became a meditation and a ritual for me before and after swims as I took quiet time on the beach.
What I loved about creating them over the summer was the simple interaction with peoples as they passed by. During high tide on the day that I finished one of my first lines a man walked up – he stopped at a simple line of white stones an asked “what do I do?” I responded, “What would you like to do?” He said: “I would like to say a prayer before stepping over”. I said, “Go for it” and I stood there; a witness as he said a quiet prayer and then took a deliberate step. He turned around and said “…and now I continue on with the rest of my life”, and off he went.
I just love the simplicity of a line that is formed by moving a few stones and I loved watching from distances as people negotiated these lines: some walked over, seeing nothing, some stopped and investigated, some walked around them. Over the course of five weeks I created lines of different colours, I enjoyed the act of gathering stones of different colours creating the lines and then watching as they began to be taken apart by the waves.
On a recent visit back to Findhorn beach I stood on top of the sand dunes and looked at where the lines had been; now long washed away. A friend who had seen the lines over the summer asked if I was going to rebuild them. No: for me they were temporary and fleeting elements. As I looked along the shoreline this time I had no desire to create lines and wondered if I would be creating anything new on the beach in the coming weeks.
In the last week I have been visiting the beach and creating stone circles in the shale edge. I am loving the simplicity of the ceremony of creating simple installations in nature, its a mindful ritual, and a simple act of being present to the elements of nature around me.
I was back on the beach again today – the sea was wild, windy and stormy and the circles almost gone. I simply sat watching the waves and the disintegrating shale forms, and marvelled at how blessed I am to have access to this wild and amazing beach. I realised that for me a crucial part of creating a better way of living is to choose to situate that life in an area where I can access the wildness of nature, a place I can spend time, maybe make a mark and let it join all of the other elements and witness how it changes and disintegrates over time.