Over the frozen sea

Crossing the brilliant sea of white clouds reflecting the sun, the clouds parted after some hours and out of the steady, solid blue of the Atlantic came this: sea ice.

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IMG_9393(Click photos to enlarge.)

Can you determine what is land, what is sea, and what it ice? Look closely enough and you can even see the cracks in the ice floes…

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These last three are in reverse order than when I took them in order to demonstrate how we flew along the delta of a frozen river, somewhere in New Brunswick, I think.

What beauty, what stark contrasts, what chill runs through my bones when I consider such thing as a frozen sea. I knew it existed of course, but had never seen it with my own eyes. I wonder what it would be like to walk along the ice, to live in such a forbidding place such as this. I was reminded of the folk song Frobisher Bay, here sung by the St Andrews Madrigal Group:

CHORUS:
Cold is the arctic sea
Far are your arms from me
Long will this winter be
Frozen in Frobisher Bay
Frozen in Frobisher Bay

“One more whale,” our captain cried
“One more whale and we’ll beat the ice.”
But the winter star was in the sky
The seas were rough the winds were high.
CHORUS.

Deep were the crashing waves
That tore our whaler’s mast away
Dark are these sunless days
Waiting for the ice to break.
CHORUS.

Strange is a whaler’s fate
To be saved from the raging waves
Only to waste away
Frozen in this lonely grave.
CHORUS.

Sunset, sea

Yesterday afternoon, the clouds paused. It has been raining for days and days as gales have hit the UK. For days I’ve listened to the wind howl in the chimney, buffeting the house and lashing rain at the windows. Apart from sleeping, the weather itself has kept me indoors.

But it stopped raining. I hopped on my bike and cycled to West Sands in time to watch the sun set on the last day of the year.

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I can feel so cooped up in this house, in this ugly, residential area of town, where it’s just houses and houses and houses. It can be frustrating, sometimes, that I have to first get out of this part of town to go anywhere. But the sea, the sea. The roar of the waves, the reflection of light and shadow on the sand; the sea reminds me why I do love this town, most of the time.

Last year was so good, until the end. The beginning of 2014 sees me emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically worn out, exhausted, and weary — not exactly a fortuitous start. If I’m lucky, maybe 2014 will be the mirror of 2013: a poor start, with a good finish. Yes, let’s hope for that.

If I were one for New Year’s Resolutions, I’d first say that I want to stop crying every day (crying is exhausting and it give me headaches), but I already manage that as best as I can. Instead, perhaps I should make more of an effort to get out to the sea.

Favourite things

Strange landscapes:

IMG_8570I love how the beaches here in Scotland are a mix of expanses of smooth sand and  rocks and pools, as the bones of the earth are laid bare by the retreating sea.

 

Favourite things

The sea:

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The sea is always there, and yet is different every time I visit it. Living by the sea is definitely one of my favourite things about living here.

Favourite things

Living by the sea:

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The sky was so clear that day, and visibility so far, that one could see that the horizon wasn’t smooth but made jagged by the distant waves. Incredible. Four and a half years later, I’m still amazed to live by the sea.

Summer holiday: Zadar

From Pula, we took another ferry to Zadar. I caught this last photo of Pula on our way to the port. Someday I want to go back there and sit in that bench when I’m not so much in a hurry!

Pula is in Istria and Zadar is in Dalmatia and the ferry between the two went out to open sea and was five hours long. This ferry was even larger than the one we took the day before; the inside looked a bit like a large transatlantic airplane. Unfortunately, on this trip neither Joanna nor I got seats by the windows but sat in the middle of the ship. I promptly fell asleep once we left the harbour and missed most of the excitement. According to Joanna, when we were between islands, the sea was really wild and the ship rocked a lot. She and most of the passengers were seasick. Meanwhile, I slept blissfully unaware and the sea was calm when I woke up again. The sea got a little choppy later on, but I thought it was fun. 🙂

It was so deliciously hot in Zadar that we went first to the beach to wait out the hottest time of the day. We had to go out the Land Gate to get there. Again it wasn’t quite like a beach: this time it was a little wooded area that dropped off into the sea. There weren’t any waves and an area was roped off for swimming, so it felt like swimming at a lake, only it was the Mediterranean.

We spent most of our time wandering. A lot of places were closed, or cost money, or we weren’t terribly interested in going inside (or were turned away, because, gasp, our skirts were too short! Probably a first in my life…). One place we did go inside was the Ancient Glass Museum, in which Joanna and I learned that glass blowing was developed far earlier than either of us had thought, and that medicinal and toiletry bottles in the Roman period were far more attractive than our plastic bottles.

Fortunately there were plenty of things to see from the outside, like St Donat’s Cathedral.

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As the day waned, we made our way to the harbour to watch the sunset. There we walked along the Sea Organ, an amazing work of musical art. Wide steps lead down to the sea and holes are cut all along the top step. Under the pavement are pipes, and as the wind blows in from the sea it goes through the holes into the pipes. The resulting music is beautiful, eerie. We sat, watching the sun sink into the water, hanging our feet over the waves and listening to the music of the sea.

 

That was our last evening to watch the sunset over the sea. The next day, we went to Zagreb…