There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio….

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.Kelp forestOur 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.

White purse sponges among the holdfasts of forest kelp with encrusted red algae
White purse sponges among the holdfasts of forest kelp with encrusted red algae
Beadlet anemones with green breadcrumb spomge and encrusted red algae
Beadlet anemones with green breadcrumb sponge and encrusted red algae

21 thoughts on “There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio….”

  1. More photos please! Wondrous post! Feel better!
    Spring has finally wiggled into place here, with some nights still frosty, yet all snow and ice are but a memory. Daffs and crocus are up making a fine display. Too soon it will be too hot and too humid. I envy your coastal vistas…be wild. Diane

  2. Amazing, thank you for a glimpse of a world we don’ t usually get to see. It is astonishingly beautiful and the colours are wonderful.

  3. Still awe inspiring photographs though….what an amazing world we live in! Sorry you were laid up from overdoing things – I have to confess to feeling the odd ache over a burst of activity (well, greater activity than usual) over the weekend. My Mum said they had an exceptionally low tide too – on Saturday, I think, but I believe an extra high one was anticipated later, although it perhaps did not materialise there either.

  4. Hello Christine,
    This is a really beautiful post. The colours amongst the kelp forest are sensational – one could aspire to such effects in a garden and never achieve them – but then as you say, in a wonderful way, what can a few gnats expect to be able to achieve in comparison to such grandeur?

  5. The colours are so vibrant when you see the seaweeds and the marine invertebrates alive in clear water ot just exposed by the tide. The cold waters of the Atlantic have a marine ecology that is as fascinating as any coral reef.

  6. More photos?I still have a long way to in developing my technique but I am improving.
    A definite improvement in the weather and although too early to be optimistic there is definitely an aura of spring about.

  7. Just old creaking bones after some over-enthusiastic “gardening” after a very sedentary winter. I’m raring to get on with things now, but its a squally week. Probably a good thing after last weeks over exertion.

  8. The colours are so jewel like. It would be wonderful to have a rock pool in the garden, but then the real thing is only a few minutes walk away. All part of the magic of this wonderful island which is why I have to keep shouting about looking after our marine environment. Once lost it can never be replaced!

  9. It is amazing to think that this and so much more is literally at the bottom on my garden and yet it only reveals some of it’s wonders from time to time.

  10. I find shovelling is getting harder and harder the older I get, is this as a result of your earlier storms? I love the walk along your beach too, a really happy calming post.

  11. Love your last photo! Lots of interesting colours and textures! Our solar eclipse was rather wonderful with rising skylarks. I guess it depends on the locality you were in when it happened?

  12. Most of the work is associated with repairs associated with the winter storms, but we’re making progress. Fortunately at this time of year and I’m “resting” as we wait for the latest batch of strong winds and squalls to move on!
    The beach is lovely at any time of year and is usually deserted even in peak summer. You’re welcome to use it any time.

  13. Thank you. I think the cloud cover was very patch, I’m told the eclipse on Eriskay (just 20 miles or so to the south) was fantastic.

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