Saturday, 11 February 2017

I must go down to the sea again


Formy Beach and Woodlands

On a recommendation we drove over to the coast between Liverpool and Southport for an alternative to cobweb-blowing walks on the Yorkshire moors. The National Trust look after an area of the coast centred on Formby. It was a spirit-lifting day: pine woodlands, sand dunes and what seems like miles and miles of beach to walk along.
Why are humans drawn to the sea? Is it the sound of the womb-like waves? Is it some ancestral call to an earlier phase of evolution when we travelled the sea for survival (as in Disney’s We Know The Way from Moana!)? Or is it just the memory of childhood holidays of buckets and spades?
The sea makes me feel insignificant as it ebbs and flows but I also feel curiously connected to the planet knowing that on the other side of the expanse of waves there are other people with the same worries, griefs, joys and hopes as me. At primary school I had to learn the following poem so maybe Mrs Hawcroft, my Year 6 teacher, is the inspiration for my love of the sea.

Sea Fever by John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.