Intensities: Spreading outwards
We did the ritual at the stump of Jenny’s cherry tree, and afterwards walked in silence down to the beach. The first thing I noticed was the stillness. It seemed that everything was still – the noises – cry of gulls, passing cars – were well, not exactly muffled, more that they were lost in the absolute stillness in which everything was enveloped. We walked down a street full of parked cars. Everything was so bright – the light bursting in flashes from car bonnets, windscreens, mirrors. It seemed like those bright flashes were merging together – everything was merging together and spreading outwards, and my sense of self was spreading outwards, into the light, into the sky, into the street and into the stillness. Then came the smoke, and everything was pervaded with the sweet smell of incense for a moment; until the smoke became the dark plume of a fire, and there were the fire engines and the people milling about, and I came out/came back (kind of…) of the stillness, but it wasn’t until I was standing, knee-deep in the crashing waves of the sea, shouting with the sheer joy of the cold hitting me, that I felt myself coming back to being a person again. After that, there was nothing for it but to hurl myself into the water and swim for an hour.
on the whole, I was glad that “I” had “resisted” the spreading outwards on this occasion. The last time it happened, I had been able to lie down, as the stillness swept me into immensity; it had gone on, seemingly, for hours, that spreading outwards, becoming sky and grass and everything else; and taken days to “come back” from. It’s not really a “state” that’s conducive to crossing busy roads, or negotiating crowds of people. It’s not even something that lends itself to communication easily – and thus can be quite weird for anyone else to be around.