Gone Away ~ The journal of Clive Allen in America

Ocean Thoughts
In a previous post, The Sea And Me, I wrote of my experience of the sea and how it affected me to spend much of my early years close to it. Since then I have rarely visited it and do not feel that strong pull towards it, as some do. It remains an old friend and I have always looked forward to the chance to see it again; from the age of eleven those chances were few and far between, however.

And now, for the first time since 1958, I live near the sea. Back then, it was the meeting point of two oceans, the Atlantic and Indian, for Cape Town, the city of my childhood, stands on a peninsula between them. Now I rest on a New England shore and gaze across the cold North Atlantic to the old country that shares these waters.


Just as the land here bears echoes of England, so the Atlantic is the same and yet different. The water is cold, but not quite as frigid as the seas around Britain. That toe-curling first shock of the water's touch is not as sharp here. The Atlantic still does that slate gray seascape every bit as well as it does around Britain, but there are days here when it relents and pretends to a sunny and blue appearance.

Like so much of America, the ocean is the same but more so. Here it is capable of storms and blizzards that might tear the old island away from Europe and set it adrift. And equally, it can smile and shimmer in the heat in a way that is almost unheard of in England. It is Devon in midsummer and Cornwall's north coast in midwinter and then some. As ever, America remains the land of extremes.


I remember one of my visits home a couple of years ago. A few of us went to the old creek beds near the farm we used to own that, in my childhood, flowed to the brim. Years of drought had long taken their toll, which allowed my cousins and I to do something we would have never imagined possible: walking along the bottom of what had become little more than an 11-foot deep crevasse. Certainly far from sea-like in its majesty, but nonetheless a sobering testament to the passing of all things.
Date Added: 09/08/2007

Indeed so, Spider. The landscape (or seascape) plays so important a part in the formation of our character in childhood and it is sometimes a shock to return years after and find that things have changed. The ocean was just one aspect that affected me deeply in my younger years and I am glad that it, at least, is unlikely ever to change.
Date Added: 09/08/2007

I remember well my very first visit to see the sea. It was a day trip to Bognor. I was very young. I was impressed at the time by the size of the vast expanse of water that lapped gently upon the shoreline. Since then I have experienced the sea in varying ways, not least, the trip across the Irish Sea from Liverpool to Dublin one very dark and stormy night... (I shudder to recall the horror!) I also have walked upon the golden sands of a beach in Australia that bears the name 'Ninety Mile Beach' (I leave the reason for the name to your own imagination..) there I witnessed the sublime delight of the Pacific Ocean and its warm waters lapping at my feet. What a force it is that drives the oceans and affects the weather in such mysterious ways. Mind you, the sandcastles I have made have been destroyed by the seas and therefore have a LOT to answer for! AFC
Date Added: 10/08/2007

Those poor sandcastles! It's true that all that sand on the shore brings out the construction worker in us. I was more into digging trenches and holes, fascinated by the way they would fill with water even before the sea reached them. And then I learned that it's all about water tables and suchlike and... Hush, Clive, you'll bore the pants off them... ;)
Date Added: 10/08/2007

I love the sea, and wish I lived closer to one. I live within an hour of Lake Michigan, which is kind of close. I go visit it when I need some self therapy. Love the picture
Date Added: 11/08/2007

I have never seen the Great Lakes, but I'm told they are like the sea. I guess it's a pretty good substitute, Janus. :)
Date Added: 11/08/2007

My first view of the Atlantic was from a small town in Ireland. The waters pounded the shore and I watched with delight and let my imagination soar... Over there, just across that VAST stretch of water that filled my vision; just over there was ... America! As yet I have not ventured into or, indeed, onto those waters. Much less have I flown across the Pond. (Maybe one day I will rectify this and follow those brave souls who venture into The New World. - Hey, that would be you Clive...! Meantime, I relish the words that allow me to visit faraway places. MAy you r journal continue to delight and (with 'the other blog), inform your devoted reader(s). Back to the point tho' .. The sea draws all of us in some way. Perhaps it is in our (Britain) case because we are a small Island and we are surrounded by it. Perhaps it is the Awsome power we see in it. Whatever it is; Give thanks for it. afc
Date Added: 14/08/2007

Gone Away
Funnily enough, I have very similar thoughts when I visit the New England coast, Fractal. I look out to sea and think: out there, just beyond the horizon, and the horizon after that, and several hundred others, is the little island we call Britain. Ah, England, my England. The sea has special significance for me now, beyond its usual attraction - it is a link to the land of my birth...
Date Added: 14/08/2007

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