Easter Pebbles

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Walking into the unknown again – this time, at 10 in the morning in a heavy, driving mist covering the whole area. It looks a little brighter out to sea, over the pebble ridge. I am sure things will brighten up as time goes on. As I walk forward, the song of the skylark fades, and the roar of the ocean grows louder.

Stumbling across a cluster of large pebbles on a patch of green, I abandon my original plan (messing about, I mean working, on the beach all day in the sunshine) and I start to shift the stones around and add more.

I work happily in the cold mist, my thoughts drifting aimlessly and mindlessly around. Looking out across the ocean, it is still all grey out there, nearly the colour of the stones. Everything is shades of grey.

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I walk backwards and forwards collecting the heavy pebbles from the beach, carefully choosing just the right ones. I pace about. I run up and down the little hill to make sure my photos will turn out OK (though not much chance of that, with everything all grey.) Every so often I pause for tea from my flask, feeling cold and wishing I had brought my flier’s hat. Then I resume working. I pick up a surprising amount of nasty plastic litter to take home for disposal. Then more stone work. When it feels like lunch time, I stop and eat my sandwiches crouching behind the little hill out of the wind. I remember, a little late, that I have a waterproof hood attached to my jacket.

There was a time, many years ago, when I would not have been seen dead doing this sort of activity. I was far too sophisticated. Now I know better – or should I say, I don’t care two whatsits. I think of the ephemeral works that one sometimes sees littering beaches and countryside these days – and I wish people would dismantle or remove them once they are done. The point is, the work should make the landscape sing, give it significance and honour, or at least be in harmony with nature’s processes – not an intrusion. I shall leave this here for a few days; them come back and kick it around a bit, so it looks natural.

I feel sorry for the lady who passed by in her summer dress, encouraged by yesterday’s sunny weather. Another couple pass, and ask if I am making a mystical symbol. How should I know? I tell them ‘yes’. These are the only people I have seen in the several hours that I have been here.

Every so often, the mist has come down heavier and darker and colder, then lightens again. Once or twice a faint yellowish circle has appeared in the sky, and I have dashed for my camera on top of the hill.

Huddling down behind the little hill, I begin to sense without looking, the subtle shifts of light, wind direction and intensity, warmth and cold, moisture, salt and sand – and my body feels fully awakened.

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Actually, what I was doing was playing around with perspective. I wanted it to look like a circle from the top of the little hill. Like the picture above.

But as you have already seen, the actual real shape was more like this:

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I woke up this morning with a bunged up nose, sore throat and sneezing my head off. All through staying out too long in the damp chilly mist over the Burrows. But I reckon it was worth it.

About throughstones

I am primarily a visual artist, living on the North Devon coast, a beautiful semi-rural area in South West England. I am interested in full engagement with 'place' and the eternal movement of life - particularly as it relates to what we call 'the natural environment'.
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9 Responses to Easter Pebbles

  1. art predator says:

    this is really wonderful–I love it!

    and really enjoyed your narrative, the work’s evolution, the perspective shift, the finished product in both views

    I’d love to come upon a piece of yours!

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  2. flandrumhill says:

    I think of the ephemeral works that one sometimes sees littering beaches and countryside these days – and I wish people would dismantle or remove them once they are done… I shall leave this here for a few days; them come back and kick it around a bit, so it looks natural.

    I was discussing your dismantling plans with my husband this morning (were your ears ringing?)and he thought he had read or heard that Native Americans dismantled their creations or let them go back to the earth from whence they came, because only if nothing of their created works remained after their death, would their spirits be able to rest in peace. I had never heard of this belief before.

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  3. paula says:

    Wonderful, evocative words. I’m also very impressed with how you made it work as a circle from the hill – is what it looks like what it is – I love it.
    The unexpected spontaneity at the beginning of its creation to the understanding effort of the completion.

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    • thanks so much – I never really know what I have done, until people tell me. When I get totally absorbed in the landscape like this, things just seem to flow, in all respects, and I completely lose track of time. Must do this more often.

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  4. planoaddlct says:

    Thanks for commenting on my blog! I think it’s pretty constricted too, but I’ve learned to cope with it.
    And the reason I chose piano addict is because after doing artwork, piano is my #2 outlet!

    So i looked at this, and I immediately thought of that artist who uses solely nature as his art. One of his pieces is this rock pyramid about as tall as he is right before tide comes in, and it gets taken away over time by the sea. I love nature artwork (how else do you define this type?) because it’s so temporary and so simple, but so beautiful. I really do love how spontaneous it comes to you.

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  5. Maggie says:

    I love that – I’m so glad you blogged it for the rest of us to see.

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  6. flandrumhill says:

    I can’t decide what’s more inspiring: your Easter arrangement (so lovely) or your writing about it. I’m impressed with how you made it appear more like a circle from the vantage point at the top of the hill.

    Like you, I’ve reached the age where I care more about what the seagulls and squirrels think about my outdoor activities than the humans.

    I find it helps to drink lots of water before, during and after shore activity on windy days to help minimize the discomfort of a stuffed up nose and sneezing afterwards.

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