…not for fun, but to survive…
…not for fun, but to survive…
‘Mussels & Barnacles’
A shot of little mussels and barnacles on a rocky Tasman Sea shore.
Ultimate, adaptable, survivors in the in between zone straddling land and tide.
( for another take on the same subject matter, in a different time and place, see: Only Clinging On (Shell Game) ).
Gannet Colony, Muriwai Beach, NZ
Back to the beach and birds.
Previously: Return Of The Gannets
Where, and how, they gather together in this place is a marvel.
It’s not easy.
The migration route across the Tasman Sea to this very location, for some of the gannets at least, is a miracle of sorts.
But even the smallest things are difficult.
On a recent trip out to Muriwai, I observed one gannet make a dozen unsuccessful passes trying to deposit twigs as nesting material to its partner. Landing in the small nest space (indentations in the soft rock and dirt , which they create) was prevented time and again by the swirling gusts of wind. I watched for minutes and the creature persevered, but still hadn’t completed the task by the time I left (it was way worse than any airline delays and technical issues I have suffered through!).
The bird was working so hard for its mate and family.
The entire flock of gannets pull together to survive in this precarious place of wind, sea and clifftops.
So too, vulnerable people need each other just to get by.
Immigrants in strange lands. Struggling sports teams. Addicts in recovery. The destitute and homeless.
Communities formed by necessity and nurtured by mutual reliance. Strength in numbers, for sure.
When the odds are stacked against you, there are no prizes for being a f**king lone ranger…
“Going to the woods is going home, for I suppose we come from the woods originally. But in some of nature’s forests, the adventurous traveler seems a feeble, unwelcome creature; wild beasts and the weather trying to kill him, the rank, tangled vegetation, armed with spears and stinging nettles, barring his way and making life a hard struggle.”
– John Muir (Scottish-American naturalist and writer)
Nowadays , when we are encouraged to find our “wild side”, we don’t really mean anything that would instill fear in us, or cause us pain.
It’s more like an extravagant extra, something different that takes us out of our humdrum existence.
A bungy jump; a raging party; acquiring some “edgy” art or clothes ; or a trip to somewhere off the usual “tourist trail”. Preferably something that can be posted on social media after the event…
But definitely not something we have to endure, or survive.
My own experience with hellish life events outside my control that took me to dark and wild places (nowhere I would choose), was exactly those two things. You too may have gone unwillingly into your own wild woods…
The words of Muir resonate with me as I think about those times: I knew with absolute certainty that everything could hurt me, anything could have my number.
The feeling of being utterly lost, blocked at every turn, and with each moment fraught with pain and danger, will stay with me always. It has changed my outlook on life, changed me.
The true wild transforms you.
If you survive it that is…