“This place is endless thin…Proterra”

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Looking from the Back Beach southwards across Foveaux Strait, June 2019

On my last stone collecting trip to Riverton, a storm blew up from the south. The wind roared over Foveaux Strait onto the Back Beach, whipping up sand off the beach and creating small tornadoes of sea foam near the rocks. 

Ironically, one of the most enjoyable parts of collecting stones from south coast beaches is being in the midst of the elements, especially when they are rough and wild. As long as I am warm and dry, well wrapped up in coat and hat and maybe gloves, it is good to experience the power of nature in this way. The world is reduced to that time and place, to the “howling of the wind” and the “crashing of the waves”, as the horizon closes in. 

And “as I walk along these shores, I am the history within”, having walked these beaches since a child. Though they have barely changed even a whit, I have grown older and older with each year. We came here on our annual holidays, more than 50 years ago, and the very first thing we did on arrival was to drive to the Back Beach. Even today, arriving in Riverton, I feel the tug to drive on to the end of the road, to see the wildness of the waves crashing onto the stones.

 

“Feel So Near” by Dougie MacLean

You’ll find me sitting at this table
With my friend Fin and my friend John
My friend Murdaney tells us stories
Of things long gone, long gone.

And we may take a glass together
The whisky makes it all so clear
It fires our dulled imagination
And I feel so near, so near

I feel so near to the howling of the winds
I feel so near to the crashing of the waves
I feel so near to the flowers in the fields
Feel so near

The old man looks out to the islands
He says this place is endless thin
There’s no real distance here to mention
we might all fall in, all fall in

No distance to the spirits of the living
No distance to the spirits of the dead
And as he turned his eyes were shining
And he proudly said, proudly said

I feel so near to the howling of the winds
I feel so near to the crashing of the waves
I feel so near to the flowers in the fields
Feel so near

So we build our tower constructions
There to mark our place in time
We justify our great destructions
As on we climb, on we climb

Now the journey doesn’t seem to matter
The destinations faded out
And gathering out along the headland
I hear the children shout, children shout

I feel so near to the howling of the winds
I feel so near to the crashing of the waves
I feel so near to the flowers in the fields
Feel so near…

“Proterra” by Runrig

As I walk along these shores
I am the history within
As I climb the mountainside
Breaking Eden again

Dark the day, dark the night
The warring dust, the morning tribe
Crushed by a million suns
Here the heart of you lies

Over land and sea
I’ll come fighting for you
Over land and sea
A dawn is breaking before us

Proterra, take this hand
The open wound, the promised land
Breaking the waves, spread the oars
Cast our badge for the shore

Over land and sea
I’ll come fighting for you
Over land and sea
A dawn is breaking before us…

Author: tumblestoneblog

Retired Academic, male, living in the New Zealand countryside with his wife, two cats (Ollie and Fluffy), two horses (Dancer and Penny) and a shed half-full of stones. Email john.tumblestone@gmail.com.

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