Surface Tension

2 weeks

15 minutes

3 months

1 day

3 years

4 seconds

4 hours

1 season

3 weeks

24 times a year

50 minutes

15 out of 100

2 hours


 crucial time

Then there’s this great big, mind blowing timeline of 185 million years that marks the 95 mile border between land and sea.

Between here and elsewhere, between now and then.

If you open it’s many windows and you poke your nose into its geology, its ecology, its geomorphology, it is breathtaking in its depth and its detail.

Traces and bones and fossils and teeth.

And in it’s language  ‘rhythmic deposition’, ‘obliquity’, ‘cross bedding’.

But there is a layer so slight that it sits imperceptibly upon the top like a surface tension.

A layer of contemporary activity taking place along that same mammoth timeline.

Each timescale above refer to a person whose activity takes place between Lulworth and Charmouth. Timescales that exist because of knowledge, precision, understanding and care. That have their own detail, rigour and fragility.  At times they are like shards in their illusiveness  and at times they are mighty in their seasonality.

How can that activity that sustains communities or determines wellbeing or that captures moments of contemporary ecology, how can it be identified, magnified and then celebrated as a significant timeline in the anthropocene* era?

*The Anthropocene is a recent and informal geologic chronological term that serves to mark the evidence and extent of human activities that have had a significant global impact on the Earth‘s ecosystemsWikipedia

With many  thanks to Sam Scriven, Earth Science Advisor of the Jurassic Coast Team for walking and talking with me from West Bay to Eype.

Sally – March 2012