Friday, April 26, 2013

coasts and a roller coaster

Yesterday morning, when the skies went through a dramatic and unexpected change to bright sunshine for once, the prospect of a jaunt around Point Pleasant Park seemed more inviting than has been the case most days these past four months. I almost took my camera but habit won out, as it usually does, and it remained in the drawer while I kicked myself for not having it when we got to the long beachfront part of the walk. The sky was blue,  waves broke in jade crests flashing white tips of spray and,  best of all, Dartmouth was obscured by a low cloud bank making the eastern passage look like wide open sea. Not that there's anything wrong with Dartmouth per se but it is a bit boring to see gas works, container ships and warehouses rather than seemingly endless sea. I tend to fall into those kinds of reverie quite easily as you may have guessed. I've never found the profusion of beach glass I'd imagined littered every shore either.

It turns out there aren't very many beaches that glitter with the remains of ancient glassware, only four or five worldwide, but eventually I learned I'd spent nearly 18 years not all that far from one of the best and had never known. There's an oceanside park in northern California next to Rte 1 where people threw their garbage for more than one hundred years. In those days there was no new-fangled plastic so when they tossed an old jam jar or beer container or fishing float, the thing was invariably made from glass. That glass was made from sand - a fact which makes it having it gone back to the seaside a remarkable, albeit accidental, bit of recycling. In the early 60's the state determined it was time to remove the garbage and carted off the cars, refrigerators, furniture and all the other assorted detritus that had landed there over the decades - but they left the glass. The park, called MacKerricher State Park, is close to Fort Bragg, CA if you ever go that way. It's even on the route through the Redwood forest if you need a bit more incentive. The beach now looks like the picture at the top, or this if you want a closer view.

Ah well, you never know what you'll find on coastlines. This is a film made about a drive along Norway's Atlantic Coast Road:

In many ways the landscape doesn't look much different here but imagine that as a daily commute to work and back. Worse still, imagine having been on the construction crew.


Lydia said...

Another fascinating post, Susan. That beach glass is gorgeous! I am saving this info about the California beach...would love to see it sometime.
The film was so great I shared it on my facebook page. Thank you, once again, for opening up my eyes beyond my average day!

susan said...

The drive along Rte 1 is a trip I'd love to do again. Maybe you can journey for me.

I'm glad you liked the movie. A friend sent me the link last year but I never had a post to suit it til now.

Don QuiScottie said...

Extraordinary beach and an extraordinary video. Thanks.

susan said...

The beach is a beauty, isn't it?
I'm glad you enjoyed the movie too.

Life As I Know It Now said...

Mother Nature spits on us as we drive past her beauty and majesty? :)

susan said...

Excellent interpretation :)

gfid said...

I've always loved sea glass. It's one of the things that give me hope. Nature can take the things we damage and destroy and, in her strong, gentle, unrelenting hands they return to the earth, balance, and beauty..... Even if we manage to destroy ourselves, she'll patiently work with what's left.

I have to wonder what the stretch of road in the clip is like in winter.... A bit obsessed w winter just now. It snowed and blowed here all day yesterday. Sigh.

susan said...

Yes, you're right and things certainly worked out fine with the beach glass. Some of the other stuff is still going to be going through the process long after we're gone.

My first thought was that road in winter too. I was assuming we were seeing it in high summer! I hope your winter breaks soon. It finally seems to be easing up here but it's been a bad one.

marja-leena said...

I've never seen so much beach glass on one beach - gorgeous! It reminds me of a beach near Victoria where our friends live. She would collect little bits of glass on this beach, rather rare in comparison, and slowly fill a lovely glass jar in her home.

I remember seeing that amazing video of the Norwegian coastal road - almost terrifying yet so magnificent!

gfid said...

while i don't buy the delusionist theories that everything is fine, and science will always find a silver bullet to kill the monsters we create, i do believe there is a great deal we don't know, and the planet's ability to heal itself is vastly beyond our comprehension. How that will all spin off in the long run is anybody's guess, and i suspect humanity and many of our brother and sister life forms won't survive it.... but i do believe the earth will - even if she's populated only by fungi and cockroaches.

let's not say the 'w' word for a while..... still in recovery. our forecast is for temps in the 20's in the coming week... or was that weather forecast a hypothermic hallucination?

i hope your walks are warmer now, and your skin is soaking in some rays.

susan said...

Remember the old ads that began with the phrase 'better living through chemistry'? Look what it's brought us. I agree that theories about some fabulous last minute breakthrough that will solve everything are delusional but I remain hopeful about the longer term too, sadly, not necessarily one that involves having people and higher mammals as part of the population. It's amazing that we can be so cool as individuals and so crazy in the aggregate.

I'm sorry about your aberrant spring weather. It's not infrequent the weather forecasters have proven wrong even about what's going on outside at the time, so I'll wish sunshine your way in hopes they're wrong again.

susan said...

I've only ever seen glass in small amounts on beaches too - and those were on the west coast rather than the east. Your friend is very lucky to be able to collect pieces of drift glass. I hope she shares some with you now and then.

Riding along that Norwegian road even virtually really is dizzying. The photography was magnificent too.

linda said...

glass beach as it's known around these parts is pretty cool. i've been up there many times but not in a decade now... it is a car-sick worthy drive up 1 but i have to say that this roller coaster hwy is enough to give my stomach enough of a lurch to fall out!! wow, i am not sure i'd make that jaunt.

as always, i love your videos. xoxox

susan said...

We drove right past glass beach a couple of times without knowing it was there. damn. Nevertheless, Rte 1 is one of the most outrageously beautiful journeys I've encountered. That Norwegian road does look scary, I agree.

I aim to please :-)