This morning I escaped to Charmouth. I’d been planning a walk for the project there for a few days and today looked good and I wanted to get away from the builders chipping away at our garden stone wall which is being repaired. I hoped for peace and maybe a few fossils. But at Charmouth fossil hunters were chipping away at rocks! Probably more fossils in our wall than on the beach today.
The recent train has brought down a lot of mudslides and there was plenty of splattering still going on. While I was in the studio yesterday doing dribble paintings the mud was painting green-grey scribbles down the beach.
You cannot say that Charmouth is pretty, up close: there is black and grey gunk all over the beach for a start; but it has a lot of charms. In some ways it could be said that Charmouth is where the Tidelines project started. Sally and I walked on it when she brought me down to Beer for my birthday years ago. Afterwards I did some drawings, or at least scribbles, which I have kept returning to for the shapes and feeling. The first time I came was when the kids were quite young and the walk at Charmouth and on Chesil Beach cemented beach walks into the realm of meditation and mental escape for me.
The trouble is, I find so much to be interesting, beautiful, exciting. Almost anything natural is a thing of wonder and beauty. Scratchy lines on a pebble or a tiny speck of green glass can grab my attention. As far as I know, the human is the only creature that can look at creation and say “it is good”. Does that make us gods?
Mind you, today I noticed man-made things. On this coast of belemnites I found a bullet trying to fit in with the natives and I noticed so many pieces of cord, mostly green and all about 4 inches (10cm) long, that I almost considered collecting and measuring them. Is there a particular length that sailors leave after they have tied off a rope that needs trimming off? (My eye was caught by quite a number of bits of shale broken to reveal rods of belemnites or something which were a natural echo of the rope fragments)
I also found a small fridge with rusty patterns like a coastal physical map and lots of very smelly goose barnacles.