Flat Earth Unroofed
It was memorable, his first visit to the cottage. It opened his mind.
‘Most people,’ said Mac, ‘live in a flat-earth mind. They’re just busy doing. What I do in timecraft is to unroof the flat-earth mind, and underneath you discover a little blue planet of awareness that does not think; it knows.’
This made sense to Hudor; he already had an inkling of this.
‘There are ways to do this, to move from one to the other. What you find is that the little blue planet in your mind is attuned to this blue planet around us; it resonates with the natural world.’
‘Some people’s minds are ossified, they have become like a bone. Others are in chaos, falling apart, without a centre. But there is a place of stillness. And in that stillness you can find the stream of time that enables you to move in time and space. This is just one thing you can do with this knowing.’
Hudor was aware that his heart was beating fast, and he had almost stopped breathing.
‘It’s all in the stillness,’ said Mac. ‘Listen if you can. I need to teach you to still your mind, heart, soul and body. In the stillness you become more real and can move through that which is less real. In that way you can get inside the summer house, for you need to meet the girl.’
He knew her name. It had been written in the dust as he lay looking at her and then had been unwritten. Wind blew in his mind. But he could not remember it now, out of the Wood.
‘Come with me into the Wood,’ said Mac. ‘To the mere.’ As they walked, Mac told Hudor to imagine that a butterfly had landed on his stomach. He needed to breathe gently so that the butterfly did not fly away.
When they got to the lake, Mac sat down cross-legged by the shallow stream that flowed into the lake.
‘Put your fingers in the water,’ said Mac. ‘Let the water run over them. This is how you should be – like the water. But you are all entangled. I will teach you the art of disentanglement. We need to disentangle your senses. Allow your senses to expand around you.’
Hudor became aware of the sound of a woodpecker pecking in a tree. He could feel the water running over the nerves of his fingertips. He could see the sunshine dappling the water, and the clouds that were passing overhead reflected in the stream. He could smell the earth, and the dung of the ghost cattle. He could taste the air as he breathed – it was a taste he had never known before.
‘What you are doing,’ said Mac, ‘is observing what you are sensing. You need to disentangle your inner seeing. Then I need to teach you the true names of all things; the names disentangle the things they name. But you’ve got to get beyond knowing in order to disentangle yourself from the shell we grow around us. Once we have done this, we can become fluid in the invisible streams that flow all around us.’ Hudor understood intuitively. He was yet to experience the bigger streams, though.
In the distance a dog barked, and the moment was broken.
‘Your mind is wandering,’ said Mac. ‘Focus on the water until you find the white stillness, the heartbeat of time itself.’
Mac put his hand on Hudor’s back and suddenly he was aware again. At that moment Mac pulled them into the water. There was a moment of fear, a moment of ekstasis, and suddenly they were elsewhere, standing in a pool of water which bubbled in five places. A ruin stood in front of them; it was clear what it had once been.
A man stood on the bank with a dog. It had a thick coat with a slightly yellow, oily sheen.
‘Watcher, I greet you,’ said Mac. Hudor could feel the health of this place in his bones, in his blood. It was as if every particle of his body danced with joy.
‘Do you know the story of the beginning, and how the opening tide of life came about? The watcher asked Hudor.
‘No,’ said Hudor.
They sat on the grass and the man began the story.
‘He will speak in riddles,’ whispered Mac.
‘There was a beginning. And that beginning started at a point, a certain place, and it contained the seeds of the beginning. The island of Ge is that place, and it contains the seeds of the beginning. Some call it a big bang, and others the opening of the tide of life. And that beginning planted other beginnings. The principle lives on. The beginning had seeds that were planted. New things begin. And there are places in Ge where that beginning still lives. We are in one now. The place where you put the white hare is another one. But these places are under threat. They are being hunted and destroyed. Poisoned.’
He looked at Hudor, who was rapt with attention. ‘Listen to the wind, and the wind will reveal more to you. But it is time for you to return.’
In what seemed like less than a heartbeat, Mac and Hudor were back in Bentley Wood. Although they had travelled through water, they were not wet.
‘Go home,’ said Mac.
At home, Hudor hugged his parents spontaneously. They were packing to go on a trip for the Fowler. They looked at him, surprised and pleased.