How to write about nature in a way that makes the reader feel the landscape as if she was there; wandering through it … absorbed, possessed – ?
Countless times I’ve seen the shore hewn and hammered, scattered with whole tree trunks, steel pipes, oil drums, concrete fence posts, dead sheep. The very topography of the beach is modified by these batterings, so much so that I have walked an altered landscape and thought of the phrase ‘sea change’, first spoken by Ariel in The Tempest:
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
The phrase – sea change – is generally used to mean a profound or fundamental change, something like a U-turn, but Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable has it as ‘an apparently magical change, as though brought about by the sea’. A real and tangible version of that magic is wrought here, over and over again.
Jean Sprackland’s way (to write about nature) is a kind of collage; connecting & combining “pure” descriptions, cultural history, climatical observations and everyday facts. It makes for an interesting read.