From my home, the #Norfolkcoast is an hours drive . It is a place where the British flock to in the summer sunshine. Beaches are crowded with bodies tanning, people building sand castles or playing games, families enjoying picnics and even possibly a few people actually swimming.
But in the off season or e’en in early morn or late of an evening the beaches are bare, the wind unwanted, the sky scrolled in billowing white. But this is the season to truly see the beauty of the coast in all it’s rawness. The oil painting to the left shows the coast barren of human life. Sea birds hang in the wind. Wild poppies reach for the warming sun. The remains of an old pier poke out of the sand – the sea is unforgiving in it’s repetitive strength. Here is beauty in openness, in raw strength, in nature untouched, in natural form. A place for contemplation, reflection, observation, and meditation.
But the coastline where I live and those all around the world have changed greatly and continue to change.
The area where I live is call #TheFens. Fenlands are a naturally marshy region in eastern England. Originally consisting of fresh- or salt-water wetlands, which have been artificially drained and continue to be protected from floods by drainage banks and pumps. Most of the Fenland lies within a few metres of sea level.
The watercolour by Ruiz shows the fens as it still is . On a misty morning in early spring, fields have been flooded to prevent flooding in other areas. To these wetland places birds come on their migration to and from seasonal homes. If the winter is cold enough, these places are an expansive sheet of ice. In times past, villages arose on the high ground in the Fens. Only with local knowledge could on make one’s way through the mire from place to place. Travellers failed, invaders failed, armies failed to navigate these swamplands.
The Fens have been referred to as the “Holy Land of the English” because of the churches and cathedrals of Ely, Ramsey, Crowland, Thorny, and Peterborough. A region filled with history and religion. This is the place where I live!