The spring equinox, a solar eclipse, aurora borealis and the highest tides for a century all within a few days – enough to give any Druid, Celt or pagan an anxiety attack. Fortunately I did not have to hide under the bed again, on Tuesday night I was comatose under the duvet, not in fear but from an excessive amount of shovelling, so I missed the auroral display. The solar eclipse was shrouded in cloud so was less than spectacular, but we had a lovely sunny afternoon. Finally we had high pressure and no wind, so fortunately the high tide was no bigger than a normal big tide but the extreme low tide was interesting. So did the heavens conspire to create awe and wonder, yes but more science than magic!
Perhaps I am being a little too complacent over nature’s wonders or maybe I am now so attune to living as part of my environment that they are just an integral part of my everyday life. I don’t think I will ever be complacent about the natural world, it is immensely powerful and it’s forces shape my emotional response to world whether in fear at the strength of the wind and the sea, in awe at the ever changing patterns of light and shade or the sheer beauty of larks ascending. I cannot escape the fact that my life is still governed and controlled by human forces and that I still have ethical responsibilities to try to shape how our society works. However, when I look out of the window I know that man’s influence is no more than a gnats sneeze in celestial infinity.
So I am sorry if you were expecting awe inspiring photographs of celestial phenomena, instead I am offering a glimpse of an earthly world that is seldom revealed. So put on your virtual wellies and we’ll take a walk to the edge of the kelp forest.
Our beaches are strewn and buried under giant mounds of kelp fronds throughout the winter and after the big storms. At low tide, when it is very calm, we sometimes get a glimpse of the fronds of the offshore kelp forests appearing below the surface of the waves. Occasionally the water will retreat far enough for us to scramble out over the rocks and down to the edge of the forest. As biologically diverse as any tropical forest, the hues are red, amber, and ochre with flashes of pink and orange rather than verdant green. The fronds move silently and sinuously through the water creating patterns of light and shade, revealing strange creatures sheltering in their root-like holdfasts. A twilight world, displaying its treasures only to those who have the curiosity to seek what is hidden and transient. There are indeed more things in heaven and earth to inspire wonder than the work of man.