Friday, 6 July 2007

emotional erosion


Wandering along the beach this-evening, happily looking for things to photograph, I suddenly became aware of the waning light reflecting off Happisburgh church and Lighthouse.

As I figured out the composition and technicalities of this picture, the criminal ineptitude in failing to fund sea defences was literally staring me in the face.

Plainly there are huge issues surrounding the damage and loss to the community of Happisburgh. As the sea inexorably destroys the cliffs on which the village rests, hundreds, possibly thousands of years of human occupation will be erased.

For generations of people along this coast, reliance on, and defiance of the sea have been two sides of the same coin.
One glimpse of that magnificent church, is enough to convince us that for at least the last five or six centuries Happisburgh folk have been clever enough to attempt to enlist the help of a higher power, while being stubborn enough to hang on in there regardless of whether or not assistance is forthcoming.

It's ironic that the village is roughly equidistant from our nation's leaders in Westminster to the West, and the Dutch coast to the East.
To the West apathy, total indifference and an apparent inability to create anything but personality cults.
To the East a forward thinking nation that has been claiming land back from the sea for generations.

Our politicians fiddle with their carbon debts while coastal communities, and population centres on the nations major riverbanks look forward to a lonely watery end.

Rant over. Go here for more information; www.happisburgh.org.uk

9 comments:

Jim said...

Many thanks for this thoughtful post - you have summed up a very complex situation, and I whole heartedly agree with your views.

The awe inspiring power of politics and nature in such stark contrast.

Happisburgh Resident

knifepainter said...

Nice of you to drop by Jim.

Good Luck.

Miss Evie D's Mum said...

Wow! That is a very powerful image and the commentary even more so. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of playing on the beach are at Happisburgh, so do feel an attachment to the area. Do the numbers stack up though for the investment required to make any difference?

knifepainter said...

Hey miss e.d.m. Thanks for joining in again.

The Dutch seem to think so.

I think it could be argued that we can't afford NOT to defend our coast.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful image and a thought provoking narrative.

As you rightly say, there are huge issues surroundings this situation.

For example one should not get carried away with lauding the Dutch for their industrious land reclamation programmes that in themselves represent a remoulding of the land and sea scape to suit our needs, when the Dutch are also in the process of a huge expansion of the port of Rotterdam which will see increases in north sea shipping exacerbating the problems.

However of course you are correct in that our own elected officials give shockingly low credence to the plight of such communities, and one can only hope that the capturing of these evocative images and using blogs as these combining visual art with modern technology can help raise the profile of such issues.

I myself have many fond memories of this stretch of coast-line and would hope my daughter grows up to have her own.

M

knifepainter said...

Many thanks for your contribution M.

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