I live by the sea, maybe live for the sea, on an island in the tidal River Medway. Just downstream of the historic Chatham Naval Dockyard - where Nelson's Victory was built. For me the sea is about freedom and exploration - both personal and geographical. Stargazer is a 31' sloop; and companion on my journey
Saturday, 4 February 2012
Ice in Poole Harbour 4.2.12
Stargazer's Hazy Reflection in the Ice
The sea has lost the gleam in its eye; dulled by a chrysalis of ice. Stargazer lies puzzled and trapped, staring down at her hazy reflection; a reflection faint like a distant memory of the summer. The restive sea lies still with a startled expression locked on its immobile features - unable to move. The expression is the one it was wearing when cold north east winds marched in from the Steppes, stilled its dance, and imprisoned it in the chrysalis of ice. The wind and the sun are powerless to set the sea free. The sun is far away on the rim of the world, struggling to rise up higher in the sky, to draw nearer. The pale silver rays that it casts glance off the ice harmlessly and leave the sea imprisoned. With the sea locked behind the ice chrysalis the wind cannot help either. The ice deflects the wind unruffled. The sun will have to approach closer, to climb higher and to regain its golden glow to free the sea from its chrysalis. Only that will restore the bright, sharp, twinkle to the sea’s eye, allow the wind to ruffle its surface, restore its freedom.
Ice Free Channel Patrolled by the Tide
Out in the harbour a forgotten ally joins the struggle, buys the sun time to climb higher, draw nearer. The restless tide met the north east winds when they marched in and has held them at bay. The tide has defended a channel and patrols it night and day, up and down, ebb and flood in a constant vigil. The channel is bordered by the still chrysalis of ice. Within the channel the sea, the sun and the wind cavort in constant motion like summer butterflies. The sunlight dancing over the sea’s surface as the wind playfully gambols across it. The battle is on to liberate the butterfly that is the summer sea from its winter chrysalis of ice.
Ice on the March into the Bay
The beach joins the battle on the side of the entrapping north east winds. It forms a hard, unyielding, land bound alliance with the ice. Together they build out into the harbour, at first boldly, with a surf-like white line that contrasts boldly with the tawny brown of the pebble beach. As they extend out into the free-wheeling domain of the sea, towards the patrolling tide, the conspirators’ confidence wavers and the ice becomes first an opaque sea blue grey, then translucent and finally blends into the sea. The tide holds the advancing ice at bay. It taunts the ice, in its inflexible rigidity, with the fluidity, freedom and grace of the sea’s dance in the channel. Every day the sun climbs higher, grows stronger. Every day the channel grows wider.