In the rather drab and dreary days of the latter part of winter, colour in the landscape is rather muted. Made worse by short day length grey overcast conditions and the sense of interminable dormancy of nature.
The opening of snowdrops and the early daffodils start to break into our consciousness. The occasional primrose becomes a multitude as roadside banks and verges burst in to life and the hitherto brown fields show green shoots. Along the Military Road fields of mudstained, once white sheep, munch on winter cauliflower stalks and a general sense of expectation gathers.
Glimpses of steely sea crashing over the rocky ledge of Atherfield present a powerful scene that whilst invigorating is not necessarily inviting, however once at the “Back of the Wight” a visitor cannot help but be drawn to the shore.
I have spoken before about this attraction but on a day when the sun came out and tide was turning a walk on the beach revealed such treasures of colour; the numerous species of seaweeds stranded by high tide and crashing waves run all shades of green, brown, red and beige amongst the glistening pebbles fresh wetted by the sea. The colours of sand across the beach reflecting the strata of rocks eroding from the cliff.
The so called Red Cliffs above Compton Bay are made up of a series of mud and sandstones of varying hues; obviously many of the strata tinged in various shades of red influenced by the presence of iron predominate but laced through the cliffs, beds of black, brown, green, grey and yellow. All contributing to coloured fans of sand and mud washing out across the beach, great heaps of sand tumbling on to the beach as the inexorable processes of erosion exposes yet more ancient deposits to the air and light of 21st Century Wight.
Our friend’s Golden Retriever who had happily been chasing waves along the shore, posed for a while on a fresh cliff fall of honey coloured sand and I was immediately struck by the intensity of the sand’s freshly exposed colour and reminded that the dog’s name is Honey!
Whilst waiting for spring to colour our lives and for the unfurling of leaves and rush of May blossoms, nature does provided us with other wonderous colour; colours that formed millions of years ago when the Island as we know it did not exist but now revealed upon the shore.