For me, there's nothing more nourishing than a good old-fashioned beachcombing walk, particularly at this time of year when the air is crisp and the sun is low in the sky, yielding its last few bright offerings before the onset of winter.
What is it particularly about driftwood that evokes such romantic feelings of rustic warmth and days gone by? Like an old wise friend driftwood has a kind of gentle sustenance about it, tossed and churned by the relentless and somewhat unforgiving sea; weathered by natural elements and unseen forces; yet still beautifully elegant.
What hidden secrets do these wonderous treasures hold? Where does the journey begin and end? Who were the companions and hitchhikers along the way; whether at the depths of the ocean-bed or shallows of the whirling, winding riverbanks. Where did that beautifully gnarled piece of drifted wood originate from?
Now if you're reading this, you are probably shouting from the edge of your seat " Driftwood comes from a tree, don't you know!!" Okay, so we have now established that driftwood was at some point a tree. But who planted this tree and where did this once tender sapling spend its infancy and former years? Did it end up as a garden shed, offering refuge and sanctuary to the enthusiastic tinkerer, a sunken boat at the mercy of the sea perhaps, or uprooted by storms and carried along by the raging river ? These are the questions I ponder upon as I walk quietly and somewhat soberly amongst the rock and seaweed on a chilly Saturday morning.
What we can establish is a most magnificent final act of nature and the connection between the forest and the sea. For some, beach driftwood may be an unsightly pile of mucky wood and a terrible nuisance. Who sees the honest beauty lying underneath that mucky overcoat of dirt and seaweed, waiting patiently to be discovered by the discerning beach roamer?
As I quicken my pace, feeling the draft of the cold biting wind and change in the weather, these are the thoughts that occupy my mind. Then all at once I spot something, that salty damp piece of magnificence waiting patiently for somebody to stop by for a moment of admiration. Suddenly it not quite as cold as I thought.....
Next time I will be discussing treating and protecting driftwood. So if you are interested in bring driftwood home, perhaps to display or craft into something awesome, then stay tuned and check back in for Decembers blog.
Oh and happy beachcombing.