Observations of a stick in water

On a trip to Scarborough I escaped the crowded beaches and walked, beyond the pyramids of the aquarium and over the headland to the bottom end of the North York Moors. A secluded beach, free from seagulls and holiday makers, to explore in peace.

Underfoot a collage of textures, as rocks worn by time and tide rub against each other with their untold stories. Amongst the pebbles a part worn stick abandoned by the last tide, it is too rough to be driftwood but shows the toll of time at sea. The stick, just over a meter in length, is curved and tapers to a point at one end.

Pebbles shifting below waves
intrigued eyes scanning
the strandline for worn
deposited treasures
 
Old brick and glass
tangled within sea ropes.
A hagstone, visual portal
to washed up futures
 
A discovery,
in the pebbles
an opportunity
silver-grey driftwood
 
Placed upright, in sand
an interruption to order.
Contrast of the horizon
meaningful litter

Disrupting the ephemeral order of nature, I drove the sharpened end of the stick into the wet sand on the edge of the approaching tide. Standing back as shallow foamy waves surrounded the new vertical.

I created a line dividing the left from the right, an intervention on the horizontal landscape. In the anthroposophical teachings of Rudolf Steiner, the vertical represents ‘I’ or active wakefulness whilst the horizontal is the passive calm. In this case, my intervention is the active wakefulness and the sea and sand take the role of passive calm.

As the sea begins the journey up the beach the stick becomes isolated and is reflected in the calm waters. I watch as gentle surges bring seaweed that wrap its long waxy tentacles around it before the next wave takes it further up the shore.

Time passes and the stick is still standing but slowly disappearing, I decide to walk away. From the awkward scramble, back up the cliff I can still make it out, still dividing left and right.

Later that night, back in the safety of the town, I wonder about the fate of my stick as I watch the water splashing the sea wall. It would have been torn from its sandy foundations and have a new destination, a new purpose.

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