Once a year, for a period of one month we would leave our house and travel to the coast. We would stay for that month in a cottage which had once belonged to a fisherman.
It was a place where the only thing which separated the cottage from the beach was a strip of concrete. A place such that shoes and socks were discarded at the start of the month, to be retrieved again at the month’s end.
A place where sand and sea and rocks and seaweed and pools and green fields were enough to fill a child’s imagination. A place too where lobsters were taken straight from the sea and put into the pan.
And in that place, off to the left as one looked out from the cottage, the cliffs reached right down into the sea. Invisible at high tide was a cave whose entrance and dark recesses were accessible when the tide was low.
Many days I stood outside that cave – looking into the darkness but unable to venture in – held back by some unidentifiable fear. Yet some deep part of me knew that sooner or later I must cross that threshold and venture inside; take a torch and risk the uneven floor, look into the dark corners, the hidden recesses, the nooks and the crannies which existed therein.
Oh, I could exist, I could live my life, I could be, without taking that risk, but I knew there would be something lacking, something missing from my life if I did not take it.
Eventually I began to explore, first of all in those areas which were reached by daylight, then in those areas accessible using the light of a match and, at last, carrying a torch from the cottage, I was able to reach the innermost parts. And although there were shapes which frightened, strange structures and creatures in rocky pools, the only monsters in the cave were those created in my own mind.
I carry that cave with me to this day. It exists within myself. A cave of truth into which I must venture from time to time in order to expose my monsters to the light.
I have found it necessary too that I escort trusted friends into the cave with me. Only then can I be sure that I have not ignored a hidden place which I need to see. And as they explore my cave of truth with me, I invariably find that I am also exploring their cave of truth with them.
For those of you who prefer the spoken word – http://youtube.com/user/DavidAgnewpoet