Despite the fact I live in the country, many miles from the sea, it is somewhere I love and of which I have many memories. One of my very earliest is as a child, on holiday in Ireland, walking on a beach with an ice cream cone, at the age of about 3-4 years old. In the 50’s the family lived at Virginia Beach in the US, a couple of minutes from an endless stretch of golden sand and blue Atlantic ocean. Later we lived near the rocky Cornish coast where wild weather was common. These days a visit to the sea side is fairly rare, usually on holidays only, and even then my preference would be for winter time, when the beaches would be deserted and one would be well wrapped against the cold, or to catch a sunrise or sunset at the golden hour.
This poem is one I learned at school many many years ago, but one I still remember by heart – to me these excerpts epitomize my feelings about the sea and shoreline.
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
John Mansfield 1902
These images are from the archives, taken in the last year or so in Tasmania and the South Coast of Victoria.