At any point clarity and presence are but an arm’s length away. Our eyes may be closed to them, but they whisper from dark places, from anywhere where the weight of the unknown overwhelms the veil of a stable life. They sit just beyond the view, beckoning us to remember life is fleeting, not to waste a moment.
Clarity and presence, however, stay separate from us. They scream a few feet away, but that’s where they stay, almost out of earshot.
Except in certain sacred spaces where the veil turns translucent. In those places the border between clarity and life, between presence and the moment, stretches thin, from feet to inches to millimeters, until every hint, every whisper those words carry rings loud in your ear. In those places presence reigns, and clarity just is. They are no longer abstract concepts — they stare back, clear as a spring day after the rain, unwilling to look away.
Cathedral is one of my thin places. In winter, its Cave is my sanctuary, a space where truth is inescapable. It is a place where I can feel the pulse of Heaven, where in the mornings a lightness shines in that washes away fear and erases regret. In summer high on Recompense I can smell perfection on the breeze. If we got to pick where we died, I’d choose there.
Shagg Crag is another of my thin places. Even on the coldest days the rock remembers me and brings a warmth to my touch, a tenderness I can’t fathom. It welcomes me like an old friend, never worried how long I’m staying, always smiling when I visit.
I stopped there today for a while. When I got to the cliff I rested my hands on rough holds. I felt myself, my heart, pushing back from the other side. “Trust me,” it said. “You have everything you need.” The veil was like wet rice paper — so tender I could almost walk through it. I closed my eyes and let its moisture rinse over me. I let out a breath, and with it came my fear, my self-consciousness, my ego. I was naked and empty standing before the rock. I opened my eyes, still breathing slow and deep, and began to climb. I fell upwards, letting the lightness carry me. In thin places there is no falling, only floating. Only flying.