The meeting of land and sea

3 min read
Hayley Kinsey High Tide Line 2

'The life of the land grades into the life of the sea, perhaps with less abruptness than one would expect, for by various little interlacing ties the ancient unity of the two is made clear.'

Rachel Carson, The Edge of the Sea

Hayley Kinsey High Tide Line

Have you ever thought about the dark line that separates the land from the sea?

This boundary between two worlds is painted along our cliffs. A 'fill up to here' line. A marker of how far up the sea rises to kiss the land. Of where they stay together, for a while.

A discolouration, perhaps? Or something left behind?

The high water mark is not a mark, it's a community.

'Wherever rocks meet the sea, the microplants have written their dark inscription, a message only partially legible although it seems in some way to be concerned with the universality of the tides and oceans.'

A welcome committee, peacekeepers, conciliating the land and the sea. We are not a border, we are life, they say. We do not separate or divide.

Hayley Kinsey High Tide Line 3

Carson's words caught in my throat and pricked the back of my eyes as I tried to read them aloud as the sun set over Tenby, pointing at the black daubed along the rocks.

That mark I had overlooked for years, written off as a tarnish, was a collection of beings, life in the borderland.

'Though other elements of the intertidal world come and go, this darkening stain is omniprescent. The rockweeds, the barnacles, the snails, and the mussels appear and disappear in the intertidal world according to the changing nature of their world, but the black inscriptions of the microplants are always there.'

Hayley Kinsey Rachel Carson

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