Tony looked at me surprised.
"Actually, Tony, those were Sylvia's words, not mine. Anyway, Sylvia likes the idea of living full-time by the sea. Also, this brings us close to one of the best medical facilities that I know of, in Norfolk. She still has the occasional need for medical treatment. In this sense too, she is glad that we met Heather."
"It's amazing, Pete, in how many areas Heather played an essential part."
"And Ursula, and Steve too, even the spy, Leroy Anderson," I added. "Without them I might never have met Heather, and without her, none of what we're doing now would have happened."
"That's what I mean. It's unbelievable how one thing ties into the other. Is there really such a thing, as the one consistent unity that some philosophers say comprises all reality? The coincidences that we have experienced are amazing, even scary, Pete!"
"From an emotional standpoint, maybe. From a scientific standpoint there are no coincidences, Tony. The fact that I can see is that we have become more alert to what's going on and are moving with the stream of things. Shouldn't we expect to meet other alert people as we become more alert ourselves?"
As it was, we didn't make it all the way to the beach that day. We arrived late. Naturally, we stayed at the SandCastle. At daybreak, though, with the first light of dawn, we were up, ready, and on our way. We didn't even wait for breakfast to be served at the hotel. We were off to inspect our treasure. Would it measure up?
Oh, it did measure up, and more! It was grander than we had ever hoped it would be. From the first moment on, Sylvia fell in love with the beach. And the rest of the property was unspoiled woodland, much of it in steep hillsides. High above the beach, we found a rocky plateau, covered with grass and shrubs, an ideal spot for the workshop-center. But the beach was the undisputed gem of the place, a paradise of light-colored sand with shallow surf washing onto the shore as far as the eye could see, extending right across the bay. In the background low evergreen trees and bushes covered steeply rising hillsides, except for the center. A bare cliff rose straight from the beach at the center of it. Several more hills and cliffs could be seen on either side of our bay.
The beach appeared to be shallow. No rocks were visible anywhere. We had long waves of surf coming in, in smooth lines. Patches of beach grass provided a touch of color that complemented the color of the surf reflecting the sky.
"What's the catch?" Tony repeated his earlier question. "There must be a catch! When things are too good to be true, there is always a catch build in, to trap the unwary."
I shrugged my shoulders. "If there is a catch, I haven't discovered it yet, Tony. Let me know when you discover something suspicious."
Indeed, this huge chunk of property seemed like a gift for the price that it was offered at, a gift indeed. Old weathered logs were piled up all along the backside of the bay, behind fields of tall beach grass. Evidently the collection of giant logs had been washed up by countless winter storms. Some of the logs looked perfect in size to lean against. We 'tested' them now and then, as this had quickly become a lazy day.
We had fought our way down to the beach from our lofty plateau, where we left the car behind. Surprisingly, considering the beauty of the place, no one else could be seen, but us, as if we were the only people alive. There wasn't a single set of footprints in the sand, at least not until Tony took his shoes off and ran through the surf, yelling and splashing. Sylvia and I followed, chasing one-another across the endless surf until we fell exhausted into each other's arms.
With the beach sheltered from the northern wind by the surrounding hills and cliffs, the air felt pleasantly warm, though the sun was barely out. What luxury it was just to lay there on the sand, looking into the sky, and soaking up the warmth of the unfolding morning while watching the clouds high above us, or leaning against logs and watching the surf, while munching on apples for a snack.
"We must build a trail when we come back," suggested Tony, as we slugged our way back up to the car, where the real food was.
We had delayed going back until we become unbearably hungry. Of course, up there, on top of the cliff, is where we had planned to have our first breakfast picnic. Naturally, exploring the beach seemed more important. It was way past lunchtime, by the time we got back to have breakfast.
The rest of the day and the next were spent exploring our new domain, every inch of it. The property markers were the only signs of civilization that we could find.
Late in the afternoon on the second day we discovered another large flat area on the far side of the property, near a private dirt road that wasn't on any map.
"It might be possible to interest one of the big hotel chains in a free lease," said Sylvia.
"Maybe for a percentage of their profits," added Tony. "Indeed, we should consider this," added Tony with a grin.
"Fat chance," said Sylvia.
"No, No. Don't talk poverty now." I added. "This place would be a gold mine for any hotel. A small part of the profit would be sufficient income for us, and to maintain the operation of the workshop center. Also, with a hotel running the financial operation, we wouldn't have to worry about advertising the beach. We could then concentrate on the workshops. We might even get some foundation to help."
"For a nudist beach project? You dreamer!" said Sylvia.
We all laughed.
"You mustn't fault Pete," said Tony. "It takes tall dreamers to see some hope these days."
"I see a lot of hope," I said. "I certainly believe that a hotel chain might be interested, because what we would offer the public, has never been offered before: a holiday away from lies."
"No greater peace workshop has ever been envisioned," interrupted Tony, speaking to Sylvia.
"Can you imagine a world in which human beings see each other primarily as human beings?" I added.
"No, can you imagine People being treated to a holiday away from lies? It must seem like a fairy tale dream," said Tony and began to laugh.
Sylvia gave Tony a hug for his enthusiasm.
"You are wrong," I protested, "dreaming won't do at all. You have to be scientifically correct if you want to do something that is workable and effective. Dreams are mythology, no matter how wild and fantastic they may appear."
Tony didn't agree.
We continued our grand philosophical exchange on and off through much of the day, while we inspected every last nook and cranny of the property that we wanted to buy. No one said, not even once, that the project wasn't right. In fact Tony had already the next logical step figured out.
"I'll be flying to the West Coast of Canada next week," he said. "We have an air show coming up. I've been invited to participate. If you would like to come, I can arrange passage for both of you. The air show is quite close to one of the most famous nudist beaches in North America. I can get you on the C-5 if you are interested."
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