Friday, August 13, 2004

England Pt 2

And now for the Cornwall part of our trip. Cornwall is where many of many forebears are from. And I think the land calls to my spirit. It is an absolute jewel in this world. When you visit Cornwall and Devon, you begin to understand how such marvelous worlds such as 100 Acre Woods, Narnia, and Middle Earth could spring from the fertile imaginations of Englishmen.

Enjoy! I hope you like them. But remember, it's 30 times more breath-taking in person. If ever you have the chance to visit, do it. We're going back.

The weather can be suddenly very misty and foggy. Stories are told where people are walking in a beautiful sunny day one second and the next are overtaking by gloom. If this happens, you are warned to stay where you are -- many have fallen off the cliffs in their attempts to return home.

Will there be "bad weather" in heaven, or will it be perpetually sunny and 75 degrees? I personally believe that unique beauty that can be found in climates like this indicate that bad weather is not bad after all.

We stayed in Polperro, which is an ancient fishing village on the southern coast of Cornwall. This was a view from our window. This harbor was empty of water for much of the day, the boats just resting crookedly on a field of mud. There is something reassuring about staying in a town that has such noticeable patterns as the tide being in or out.

Another shot of the main town harbour. Polperro is still a working fishing village. In it's history, there only two kinds of people who lived there, fisherman or smugglers. Many were both.

I am not lying -- this is a "road" that people drove down. Unbelievable. As the village was built long before cars were invented, let's just say that automotive traffic is something of an afterthought. It was not uncommon to encounter an oncoming car and then have to drive in reverse for about a quarter mile to find a place where he could pass.

Another view of the harbour. Oh man I miss that beautiful sky.

Nearly every cottage had delightful flowers in their windowsills.

This is one of those shots that unfortunately I just couldn't come close to capturing how amazing the moment truly was -- mostly because I didn't have a tripod so these were taken trying to steady myself and the camera against a bench. Darby and I had a long walk and talk on top of an overlook, and this was the site we were treated to.

The cliffs' outcropping of rocks and stone were often covered in multicolored variations of lichen and moss. Darby had a theory that the lichen made the rocks harder and more resistent to erosion against the oceans' neverending assualt of waves. We haven't had a chance to confirm or deny her theory.

America gets a lot right -- ice in the drinks, free refills, showers everyday, freedom of speech and religion, etc. . . But the Cornish have made preservation of their lands such a priority that they have set aside 650 miles of coastland (in other words, the vast majority) for a unspoiled coastal walkway. It's hard to describe how beautiful this is, but it's basically posisble to walk along the entire coast of Corwall and see it basically as it's look for ages. Can you imagine how nice it would be to see American coasts this way? When the children are a little older, we're returning to walk much of this pathway.

The Cornish Coast -- One of the most beautiful places in the world.

On the night of the day we arrived, I went out by myself at dusk to take some pictures, and I found this seacave on the beach below our cottage. Here I am standing inside of the cave. I had a very difficult, irrationally scary time having my back to the depths of the cave to take this. What was I afraid of -- sea monsters? criminals? Yes, exactly.

The color on this tidal pool at the base of the cliffs was enchanting, unlike any I had seen before. It beckoned me to dive in. But I checked the water and it was very cold and the spell was broken. This is a good time to mention that I believe that the Cornish are obsessed with dogs (stay with me, it will make sense soon). Nearly every restaurant had a sign that said "Dogs forbidden at tables" or "Dogs welcome" (one said they were especially welcome if the 'tipped well'). Countless signs reminded us that there was a one thousand dollar fine if you allowed your dog to "foul the pathway" along the coast. ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS??? And, we take a while to hike to this tidal pool, and on the cliff wall in scrawled in large type "DO NOT ALLOW YOUR DOG TO SWIM IN THE TIDAL POOL." It's as if all they think of is dogs.

Another shot of the amazing Cornish coastline. Now that I think about it, I think that Darby's theory of the lichen was actually that they broke down the rocks into thin layers of soil and that's how the green grass would start to grow on the cliffs. That's pretty much the exact opposite of the other theory I recounted, huh? Her actual theory about the hardness of the rocks was that the salt water somehow pressurized the rocks and made them tougher. She based this on the fact that the rocks in the water were very hard and very dark black in places. However, I disagreed with her Theory of Water making Rocks harder and my idea was that water had worn away the weaker rocks and that's why the rock that was left in the water was very tough -- it's all that could survive, it's all that was left over.

A tree on the cliff (after the length of my last couple "captions" I thought it best to keep this one short).

Did I mention how clear the water was? It looked almost carribean and tropical. Not like our slate grey Atlantic. Again, it calls you like a siren, "Jump in, jump in!"

A moment of togetherness worthy of recording. To record this particular moment, I had to shakily set up the camera on a random crag. Then I had 6 seconds to scamper across the uneven ground, sit down, settle in, and look relaxed and happy. I think I did pull it all off fairly well, but what you can't see here in that I'm sitting in a puddle. . .


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures... I definitely should have skipped London and headed toward the coast!

O and nice self-timer story!

~ jd

8/14/2004 5:46 PM  
Blogger Jason - Band Member said...

Well we have to return and visit London properly. By the time we got there it was already dark and our flight left early the next morning, so we definitely missed out on the history and sights. . . It was unfortunate.

8/14/2004 7:23 PM  
Blogger Susanjaz said...

I have only ever been to London, and that was for eight hours during an unusually long flight layover. I loved the bits that I did see, but I really long to visit England sometime. I like hearing about you and Darby theorize and making observations. it reminds me of Jayson and me. We are always making psuedo-intellectual conversation.

8/15/2004 9:33 AM  
Blogger Collin - Band Member said...

Nice pictures Jase. I have to get there and hike that trail. Isn't there a 600 mile trail that traverses all of that beautiful coastline?

8/15/2004 9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Jason, your pictures are insane! I'm working on a degree in photo at U.D. and wow, your pictures rock. Can I ask what kind of camera you're using?

8/24/2004 11:58 AM  
Blogger Jason - Band Member said...

Thanks, you are too kind for sure. But I appreciate the compliment from someone who is learning the craft properly. I am so jealous of you, do you have access to the photo labs and all that? I spent a summer at the university of the arts in philly and my favorite class was photography, I'd spend hours in the darkroom. I want to learn more, I mostly shot off of instinct.

I shoot film with a Mamiya 645 and these pictures are all digital using a Nikon D100. I do love it, but I feel guilty for not using film!!! But ah, it's cheap and easy, and when you're traveling you can take 1000s of shots easily, you know? The D100 is pricey, but it feels just like a real camera in every way, I can't shoot digital using other digital cameras, the delay time just kills me. The nice thing also is that it uses all standard Nikon lenses.

Thanks again for the compliment. If you're interested in seeing anything else I've done, you can look in previous months. I post shots here and there.

8/25/2004 1:04 AM  
Blogger sha'uri said...

You are really good at photography I have to agree.... I don't take classes or anything either.. just find it fun. Impressive none the less. (1 word??)

8/26/2004 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved the pictures--I'm using them to show the setting of a story (by Joan Aiken) that my 7th graders are reading. These are perfect for "Lob's Girl."

10/20/2006 3:47 PM  
Blogger nheri said...

those pictures were really breath taking...its really really could feel the spirit of those places merely by just looking on it...i wish i can see those places personally...

...keep up the good work and more beautiful pictures...!!!!!!!!

4/03/2009 3:56 AM  

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