Nothing soothes the soul quite like a walk down the beach and a quiet moment of contemplation listening to the melodic rhythms of the water caressing the shore. And I imagine that someday that may be how a day at the beach will be for me but for now, living where I live, it is doubtful that a mid-afternoon hike down to a busy, rocky shoreline will have many soothing, quiet or peaceful moments. Rather it offers up an opportunity to explore what the rest of the world is up to, a glimpse into the lives of those who have also found their way down to the water.
Flowing long hair, bright blue eyes and a gentle nature he walks around the sand barefoot in search of perfect balance. A true artist, with a unique talent that challenges the viewers understanding of gravity, with what appears to be an in-depth knowledge of shape and form you might find yourself literally sitting on the ‘edge’ of your seat while watching him perform his amazing feats. Until, that is, you take the time to talk to him and he tells you that skill simply comes from years of practice, trial and error and an extreme amount of patience. He adds of course that it helps to swear as little as possible and that rather than force the stone to do what he wishes, he spends much of his time pleading with them to stay where he puts them. His name is Sean and he balances rocks; you can find him down by the Toronto beach boardwalk scooting around the sand on his butt, with a large stone in hand, head cocked to the side looking for the perfect place to set it down. Fun to watch, even more pleasant to talk to, he has a very passive approach to what he does in his spare time. He says some people call it art but he never really looked at it that way, it is just something he enjoys doing and it is pleasing to others; they come down and see what he has created and they smile. Reason enough I guess for him to keep placing stone upon stone yet I wonder how it is he does not see the magic quality in such a simple answer; perhaps he does, I imagine I will ask him next time I see him.
His companion, a mild mannered, lovable canine lies quietly watching, not too close so as to interfere but close enough to keep an eye on her best friend. I remarked to him that she was very well behaved and he said “no, she is just a good dog because I love her”. Again a simple answer, but it is an answer that holds within it much wisdom.
When I first stumbled upon him I watched from a distance while my daughter shot photos but it was much too difficult to resist going to talk to him to find out why...
So we talked, about what I do, about what he does, about how he got started and about why he has not yet stopped and I learned something more about the inner workings of the human heart. While we sat there talking a young girl joined us, people walked by asking permission to take pictures, and another young woman approached asking if her son may give him a rock the boy had found... We spoke to the young girl, smiled at the young boys’ generosity and in the end I left with much appreciation for the fact that a short walk on the beach had brought to me a new friend, a kindred spirit who like me follows his passion and creates as his heart tells him to create. The young girl mentioned that the rocks eventually fall down and he explained gently that it was ok, it was not in him to need them to stay there for once they had been placed the moment was over and beauty once created and remembered would last forever even if the object itself did not. A deep understanding of the ‘now’ moment of creation, perfectly demonstrated by the simple act of piling stone. A lesson perhaps the young girl might not understand today, but it is a lesson that will no doubt follow her through life, tucked in the back of her mind, waiting for the right moment for her to remember just how important the now moment is.
Though he might not view it this way (I intend to ask him that as well) I think a simple act like following his heart and going down to hang out at the beach might be enough to bring a bunch of strangers together who without his presence may never meet much less interact and it is with that thought in mind that I leave you with this...
For as much as we may not view the random strange callings of our heart to create things that others might not understand, it is in the act of creation itself that we offer up to the world a very precious gift, an opportunity for them share with us our now moment. For in this world that is constantly rushing by how magical and precious is the opportunity to, just for this moment, appreciate the simplicity of being still and being present in our now.
Niki Norlock, author of Truth - My Synchromystic Journey
(photo credit - Madison Leach)