Tuesday, 25 August 2009

37: On finding the centre of the world and father being hellish

Issue 37, spring 2004

I once thought had discovered the centre of the world.

It wasn’t something I’d planned to do; I was experimenting with corners and string in the round field on my our farm.

The round field was an ancient burial ground. To me it was a mystical place where something magical was always about to happen. I had a dream once that one of the granite slabs in the hedge was door to somewhere; it never opened for me.

A group of us local farmer’s sons camped there a couple of times hoping to see something. I don’t know what we hoped to see, or what we would have done if we did see something. When father came up late and shook the tent, we panicked so much we almost had accidents. We were only 11.

The day I found the centre of the world was around the same time. The field wasn’t quite round but had seven sides including a gateway and a stile. I figured that if you drew a line from corner to opposite corner, and from the spare corner to the stile where the old people used to carry the dead, at the point where the lines crossed I might find something interesting.

So with lots of binder twine and fencing stakes, one Sunday afternoon, I made an elaborate cat’s cradle of string across the round.

Where the lines crossed I stood in expectation, but witnessed nothing. Then, I looked down and saw a large, smooth round stone with fossil-like markings in it.
This must be it, I thought, the sign. It must be the simple sign that says this the centre of the world, the belly button of planet earth.

I sat and thought about it for a while and ran indoors to fetch father. He wouldn’t come but mother had a look and said father would be hellish if I didn’t put back all the string and stakes. However, the centre of the earth marker stone was now gone.

We couldn’t find it.

I was devastated that someone else might get credit for discovering my miraculous find.

I was, from that moment, enlightened in what I perceived to be the centre of the world. It is the place you feel most at home with, the place you feel you belong.
Years later, I still wonder about that centre of the world stone.

Cornwall is the centre of my world. There is no other place I’d rather be. The world, for what I believe, may well have started in a field near Porthleven.

For many others Cornwall is also the centre of their world. They needn’t travel very far from it or of they do venture away, it’s always there when they get back.

Many people have been celebrating their world as of recent. The show of people at the various celebrations for St Piran on his feast day is testament to that.

Many more people will be coming to celebrate their Cornish world at Dehwelans as well.

I’ll be at the Cornish World stand so I’ll hopefully see you there.

The weather; it’ll be sunny from now until October.

Bright days ahead for one and all.

Nigel Pengelly, Editor
Pictured: storms on a spring tide, Penzance.


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