Daily Tidal Cycle - Ursula


The tide turns

The lingering sound of the sea,

With sunny intervals

Of humid melody

Swishing over silent stones,

Plucking, clattering pebbles

From their rest,

Sliding along the shore,

Towards the golden west.


Low Tide - Activity in Stillness - Ursula lies in her bed and feels cold. She wakes up enough to discover that the cover has slipped off. The sea responds by receding, leaving the beach rocks uncovered.

Dragging the laden barrow across the hillsides has been arduous for Haydown Horse but now they crest the final rise and glimpse, through open woodland, the cluster of stone houses sitting snug by the harbour. Ursula smiles with Bethilda. They can see the muddy-bottomed haven, the boats tilted at angles, resting in the silt. Fringing the bay are small cliffs with rock pools at their base. In the larger ones live the delicate red and pink seaweeds and the jelly blobs of anemones. Down in the muddy sediment worms are building tubes of sand and broken shell. Even though the tide had gone out there is food in the rock pools.

Rising Tide – Activity in Anticipation - Ursula slowly pulls the covers back over her shoulders. In reply the sea surges over the sand covering it. Fish come nearer to the beach, and flotsam is carried in on the flowing tide to the water’s edge.

They unhitch Haydown Horse and pull the barrow off the track and onto flat ground. He crops at the grass and patiently crunches at his bale of hay. Bethilda fusses over Haydown Horse, rubs down his sleek coat, brushes his mane and tidies his tail. Ursula lights the fire and, dipping crusty bread into bowls of chunky hot soup, together they watch as the sun drops below the moor side. Bethilda throws a blanket over Haydown Horse and snuggles next to Ursula under their cosy woollen covers. It is good at summer solstice to lie beneath the stars.

High Tide – Activity in Motion - Ursula, the covers up round her shoulders, rests and dreams. The sea now conceals the beach.

Before the poppies have raised their heads and opened their scarlet petals to the warm morning sun, Ursula and Bethilda emerge from their bed and set up their stall in the market on the quayside. Trade is active. A cheerful festival of laughter and entertainment enlivens the sleepy village. Visiting boats from the offshore islands sail in on the rising morning tide and jostle and bob in the busy harbour. It is full of noise, the chatter of deals being agreed, and wooden carts transporting goods to new homes. Haydown Horse shares gossip and enjoys the company of the other packhorses in a lush green field by the shore.

Falling Tide – Results of Activity are Revealed - As Ursula sleeps she moves and the covers gently fall down the bed. The sea flows away from the land leaving flotsam on the beach and revealing ripples in the sand.

Haydown Horse stops for a moment and watches the water lapping the rocks, uncovering the sandy coves in the bay and revealing the sand hoppers playing in the desiccated seaweeds. Empty shells of whelks and scallops lay strewn across the sand. Oystercatchers dig with their sharp red beaks, finding cockles buried near the surface. Ripples in the white sloping sand are the footprints left by the water as it withdraws back to the ocean. Gradually the harbour waters drain away, the tide falls, customers become fewer and fewer, and a cool evening air spreads along the bay.

Page last updated: 29th Nov 2017