A North Wind over the Bay

They come down here every morning early, just after sunrise, and judge the mood of the sea; generous, hostile, selfish, placid, forgiving, it could be any of these.  When skies are cloudless and a pink glow rests along the eastern horizon, as the darkness shrinks away and the light grows to fill the arc of the bay, then the promise is made.  A sharp north wind nips the noses and freezes the feet but the sea still smiles and invites them in.  A fine day, it whispers, cloudless, sun soaked, yet white horses are already galloping across the surface of the sea and the promise has lost its gilt edge.  Instead, a rough ride is promised to anyone daring to step on board.  Nets are lying on the quay.  Pots are being loaded, chains unfastened and ropes unfurled.  Engines splutter and, choked with fumes, cough and leap into life as the white foam edges the tide.  Cats prowl along the quay tempted by the fishy aroma, content to settle and wait for the return of the boats.  At the end of a cloudless day, when the wind has turned to a stiff breeze, the fleet returns and pulls up on the shore, letting go of its slippery, shining catch.  Then the circling gulls swoop while the cats still wait patiently.

Then the holiday makers come, licking ice cream cones, braving the chill in summer vests and sandals, goose bumps popping up on their naked limbs.  The fruits of the sea add a pungency to the sickly sweetness of rum and raisin and eyes squint seawards, as the queues grow for the evening trip around the bay.  Sea shore smells of seaweed, fish offal, diesel and suntan cream mix with the aroma of frying chips and spilt beer, all adding their contribution to the atmosphere of this once peaceful haven.  Still the sun shines and still the wind blows.  The wary wrap robes around frozen shoulders and stand in the lea of the wind, grasping hungrily the welcome heat of the dying sun.  The pink glow on the western horizon flushes the white walled houses, as the last gleam sips into the sea and azure turns to navy.  Lights lie along the harbour wall and music streams from a dozen bar room doors.

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On Dunkery Beacon

The wind whips the heather heads, turning them from a glorious purple to a barren bleakness in preparation for winter.  The sky scuds above the whaleback of the beacon, diminishing the scale of the landscape by its immensity.  Clouds rush across the blue arc, blotting out the sun and staining the land with splashes of darkness, when the wind rushes the weather onwards in the teeth of the late lost hurricane. This is Welsh weather, grey misted, the land hovering above the sea is still shrouded in the remnants of last night’s storm.  The trees bend to the east, broken branches littering the ground.  The journey becomes hazardous, yet exhilarating.

The land is laid out as a patchwork, a tapestry of sea and sky, the hills and valleys a folded cloth of contours, layer upon later stretching out before me, beside me, behind me.  On this beacon spot, where long ago fires were lit as a warning when strangers threatened the security of its territory, the fortress now stands solid against the gale which ripples its heather blanket, and the lights and shades of late summer draw contours around its hidden history.  A text book is laid out before me, a story book, to be read and enjoyed.  Here a human life shrinks to that of an ant, pursuing its destiny, anxiously energetic, ignorant of the stories which are written here in geological time.

Two Sculptures on a theme of Life and Death

This is a piece by Judy which I have posted on her behalf

I am struck immediately by the similarity of the sculptured figures to the story in today’s news, of a funeral for a bridegroom, killed on his honeymoon when he strayed into unfamiliar waters. The bride tells of her sorrow, making the national news, the report dramatising the pathos through its focus on the tears in her eyes and the tremor in her voice; too ugly, too public, the journalist too hungry for the story. The sculptured figures are frozen in their moment of sorrow each silently telling its own story of this too early death, one through its lifeless misshapen form, the other through the strength of its stance which supports the body of his bride, while his head bows in unspoken grief.

The opposite form in this room is an abstract shape of sinuous geometry. It is reminiscent of a torso, an abdomen, a head with limbs thrusting upwards as if demonstrating the life force hidden within the form. The growth comes from a stable base, with sphere balanced on sphere, with tendrils entwining the form, arms uplifted in prayer or praise, a twisted growth, granular, earth coloured, dull rust, slate blue, orange stained, echoing the colours of the floor of the room where both sculptures stand in opposition. One speaks of life and regeneration the other of death and extinguished hope.