Sunday, 20 February 2011

High Tide

Ten minutes by car and I am at the seaside. Not the buckets and spades variety, this is the sheltered strip of sea between the mainland and Anglesey, the Menai Strait. The tide is exceptionally high, higher than I ever remember seeing it here, so there is only a narrow strip of shingle between high water and sea wall. This strip is coated with bladder-wrack, a harvest I would dearly like to gather to improve my asparagus bed, but it is laced with plastic debris. I doubt if the little huddle of seven oyster-catchers standing only feet away mind about that, but for me it is a reminder that we treat the sea like a dustbin.

As I watch, the tide starts to pull the waters away towards the ocean, and a riffle appears where the retreating water is drawn across the concrete edge of a small quay. What power there is in the tides, and how long before someone suggests building a barrage here to harness it to feed our collective energy hunger?

Further along the shore there is a small woodland, which I approach carefully, treading gingerly on the thick bed of seaweed. The wood is the colour of spring, a carpet of bluebell and sanicle, violet and lesser celandine, but mostly of wild garlic, tens of thousand of bulbs sending up a single bright green leaf to greet the new year. The sun is shining, I revel in this moment of greenery. No need for a barrage. All it takes is a walk by the sea to re-charge your batteries.

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