Once a week, all year round, my friend and I drive 20 minutes east to the beach. In winter, while others head west to go skiing, we enjoy the changing moods of the sea and sky. This week we paddled for the first time since autumn.
The sky was blue and clear so we had a clear view of the Port Hills and the Kaikoura mountains. Yet, just a week earlier, you could hardly see a thing!
We’ve encountered all sorts of weather over years of winters, including stinging wind-blown sand and biting southerly winds. In August 2016, there was snow on the Port Hills, but a beautifully clear day.
The beach is different every visit. It depends on the tide, weather, and what has happened over the week, such as high tides or storms which wash up drifts of seaweed and shells, push the sand into banks against the sand dunes or wash the beach smooth and clean of debris.
One morning, we found a fishing boat had washed up overnight.
Sometimes artists exhibit their work at the beach while other people find driftwood irresistible for creative expression.
This week I saw these two works by Russell Clark in the Christchurch Art Gallery. They celebrate the sea and its exhilarating effect on us, using light, perspective, shape and texture.
The painting on the left is View from the Pier. The sculpture is called Beach Figure. The texture of the garment reminds me of driftwood and sand shaped by the wind.
Nature does some interesting sculpting too.
We, and many others, find the atmosphere of sea, sky and fresh air uplifting. There are people out walking, running, cycling, surfing, and exercising their dogs and horses all year round.
Both sea and sky have changing moods.
Often, we walk up the dunes to find a view from the top which takes our breath away.