Sylva Fae

A Change of Scenery


We’ve spent the summer holidays camping and pottering around our little woodland. We’ve enjoyed sharing it with family and friends, and I also managed to grab a few precious moments of solitude. It’s a place I never tire of, but it is nice to have a change of scenery once in a while. We set off for a week on the coast swapping our lush greens for ocres and blues and our gentle woodland breeze for the blustery sea winds. Through the sun and sea spray we found the other end of our rainbow.

20150820_184413Instead of cartwheeling through the fields, the girls charged across a wide expanse of empty beach, armed with buckets and spades. Instead of bounding through a jungle of ferns they squealed with delight as they danced through the waves. Dipping our toes in the frothy surf, we braved the chilly water and ventured in deeper and deeper enjoying the force of the waves. Eventually exhausted, the children slumped down at the foot of the dunes to build castles and bury each other in the sand.

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With the children engaged, I wandered alone, enjoying my moment of solitude. Ever since I was a child I have had a fascination with pebbles, I would spend hours pottering, searching for the perfect one. I drove my parents mad coming home with pockets weighed down and bulging with my treasures. I haven’t grown up much in that respect and my girls have inherited my love of stones and pebbles.

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With pockets laden with interesting pebbles, I too settled at the base of the sand dunes, shielded from the wind by the hardy grasses. There I indulged in my favourite meditation, stone balancing. A strange habit, I know but it is a satisfying lesson in patience and perseverance.

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Every stone has it’s balance point, it just takes time to find it. Feeling even the smoothest stone, reveals tiny dents, imperfections, a slight rise or shallow. Somewhere amidst the millions, there is the perfect balancing partner. The fascination is not to layer easily stackable flat pebbles, but to seemingly defy gravity with precarious balancings. The challenge lies not in choosing a stone that fits, but in choosing the stone you wish to place, then finding how it can fit. The satisfaction comes from creating something fleetingly beautiful, not just in the shape of the sculpture created but in the negative shapes surrounding it. Viewing the scenery beyond the pillars of stone, adds a surreal feel to an ordinary space.

The sound of children’s laughter blends with the wind and swirls around with the sea grasses. The dunes offer a small pocket of calm and my breathing slows. I find that inner silence and it grows, slowing my movement and guiding my fingers. I rely less on sight and concentrate on feeling for the balance point. I relax with a breath as each stone sits, so delicately that even a wisp of wind will topple it. I memorise each balancing and picture the line of stability that runs through each stone anchoring it to the earth below. I memorise, for I know I will replace each stone many times over as I learn to refine each gentle placing. Such is the lesson in patience and perseverance.

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With each stone, a layer of peace replaces the noise and a silken calm envelops me. I stop focusing on the task and let instinct take over. My body sits relaxed yet still and my fingers play over the stone’s surface, recognising its uniqueness. For a brief but precious few minutes, I become at one with the environment.


I preserve the moment with a photograph as I know these moments are fleeting. The children run past, sifting the soft sand with dancing feet and the stones return to an interesting pile of pebbles on the beach. I breathe, smile, and become mum again.

This is an art, I am constantly striving to master, but the practise is therapeutic and calming. I am a novice but a happy one. I admire the amazing art of stone balancers such as Michael Grab and aspire to create sculptures as skillful and beautiful. For now though, I’m enjoying my modest creations.

I am constantly in awe at the stillness, let alone possibility, of such precarious formations, amidst sometimes very turbulent conditions. For me this reflects our own potential to maintain a still-point amidst the variety of challenges we each face throughout our lives. Further, I wish to highlight the idea that WE ARE creators of our own reality, rather than mere recipients. Consciousness affects reality. This practice allows one to freely create,  manifesting their own particular vibration into a 3D world.

Michael Grab, Gravity Glue

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16 thoughts on “A Change of Scenery

  1. AvatarMysteryves

    Marvellous fae. A beautiful meditation, thanks! fond memories also, as boy of being weighed down with pebbles, seaworn glass, driftwood. Treasures all! Happy days. ✌️

    1. Sylva FaeSylva Fae Post author

      Do it Morrine. Go collect some natural treasures or make your own sculptures. Fun and therapeutic in the fresh air.

  2. AvatarLisa Shambrook

    Gorgeous post! Pebbles are so soothing…I love to just hold them and smooth my thumb across an ocean dashed surface…and balancing them is so much fun!
    There’s nothing more soothing or more passionate than being by the ocean…glad you had time to enjoy it, Sylva!

    1. Sylva FaeSylva Fae Post author

      I was thinking of you as I was collecting pebbles and watching the waves crash. I knew you would appreciate it Lisa.

  3. AvatarAnnette Stewart

    A beautiful piece of writing Sylva and the various pictures are fabulous, especially the rock balancing. As a compulsive pebble and shell collector I fully understand your fascination with them. Now, even without our grandchildren on holiday with us Brian and I constantly ‘show and tell’ as if our special find was the only stone or pebble on the beach! In a couple of weeks we will be taking our early Autumn holiday at our favourite beach – need I say more – and I am going to have a go at rock balancing !!! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Sylva FaeSylva Fae Post author

      Thank you Anni. Our beach combing was especially fun as we went hunting for a little mermaid in the pools. We didn’t find our sea witch this time but we’re sure she would have loved playing with the girls if we had. You’re lucky to live so close to the sea; I hope you have a lovely holiday. As for me, I’m still checking for pebbles in pockets every time I do the washing.

  4. AvatarNeil G

    Absolutely beautiful piece, Sylva! As a longtime pebble collector and stone balancer, I’m with you all the way. Sounds line the musings of an old drystone builder reincarnated. What will the archaeology of the future make of your own constuctions once unearthed? Or should that be unsanded. Lovely piece, great pics, a strong statement for pebble power! Write on!

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