A “Grovian” November Experience AKA “The gyroscope in Jennifer’s garden in Normandy after dark”
There are moments in life that make sense of the seemingly endless journeying. Working with David Grove out in the magical land of La Bouvetière ( Jennifer de Gandt’s house of wonders in the Normandy countryside) is one of these. These moments can only be described because to interpret them would be to cover them in layers of meaning. These are moments of unravelling – of revealing the unseen. It is like going to an etymological dictionary and discovering the original sense of a word and there is simply no more to say. It is that!
So here is a description of what happened to me within the context of an experiential three days that I shared with fellow “travellers” in November this year.
It is dark and the night is cold – very cold.
I am seated in a large contraption alternatively named a whirligig or a gyroscope.
I am wearing a felt top hat of many colours to keep my head warm and a skiing jacket.
David says, “You can get down, whenever you want”.
Diane waits with me in the biting cold – watching over me. After a while David orders her inside.
I am alone – unmoving – in the night.
The stars are icy clear.
I see the group inside working together – in the light – in the warmth.
They are there, together and I am here, alone.
It is thus.
I sink further into the cold and feel it biting my toes, eating my legs.
I do not move.
I think vaguely that this is what is like to be dead: seeing and hearing but having no connection to the living. Strangely, there is no fear, only cold and contemplation. There is a pristine quality to the cold and the night.
After some time, David appears and simultaneously I see the table. It is a garden table made of wood and the moonlight is catching a shard of water lying, luminous on its surface. I have seen this table many times in the garden but tonight, at that moment, it is absorbed in mystery.
I say, “It is the table, David.” I refer to the “table” of last year’s journey when, in the stillness at the end of a long narrative, I sat down at a table for an encounter with a timeless, faceless “opponent” that I knew I had to get to know. I referred to that encounter as a meeting with the faceless embodiment of Death.
David slowly tips the gyroscope down to the left and my body is racked with a deep sobbing.
He moves it slightly to the right and across. My right arm reaches out and my hand gropes desperately in the blackness. “I can’t find it,” I sob helplessly.
He tilts it upwards and I am gasping for breath – taking in great gulps of freezing air and it is not enough.
The night is endless.
He moves the seat up and to the left and my eyes catch the stars.
My hand reaches out and my whole being is bathed in wondrous beauty.
Small “oh-s” escape my lips and a sense of deep gratitude swells within me and spills over the edges of my eyes.
I am brought back to the starting position, upright, facing forward and level to the ground. I say repeatedly, “It is so beautiful.”
I say, “I am cold”.
David fetches hot tea and while I am sipping hot tea and gazing, transfixed, at the table, I can only continue to say, “It is just so beautiful – Thank you”.
From the reverie I hear David’s drawl (pure Down Under) saying, “Well y’ look like the Mad Hatter at a tea party, Sheila”.
And I am down.
I am back and I roar great gales of laughter and ask if he has seen Rabbit and is He keeping track of Time and are we likely to be late.
I climb down and out of the contraption. My legs are shaking – possibly from the cold.
I write the following lines spontaneously and share them with my travelling “brothers” and “sisters” at the party in the evening.