Vincent Van Gogh said, “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” The Sharqiyah Governorate, the city of Sur, and particularly the Al Ayjah township always provide a visual feast of colour, nature, light, shade, and particularly, the sea.
Usually, it is the turtles of the Ras Al Hadd region that draw the tourists, but there is just as much attraction in the coastal environment even in just looking and appreciating the changes wrought by nature during the hours of dusk. Last weekend even more so, as the unusually low tides of the lunar perigee offered new and different sights. Strangely enough, on the other side of the globe in New Zealand, unprecedented high tides as the result of the lunar phenomenon more commonly known as a ‘super blood moon,’ when the moon orbits closer to the Earth, and coincides with a new or full moon.
Of course, we know when dusk is coming, as the sky and sea lose their sparkle and shine, their brightness, and instead unleash the first shadows on the land and seascapes. The sea, all day so angry, like it’s trying to dispel Nabokov’s thoughts that, “the breaking of a wave cannot explain the whole sea,” Having been so energetic, busy and persistent, it now appears spent, the Easterly wind that has driven its urgency diminishing in power and speed. So many shades of green now appear, as the seaweed strewn shore, stretching far out to the lessening waves, takes on a whole new identity.
The sand finds new colour, shape, shadow and timbre, as the sun catches its every mark in some shade of sand-ness. The sea birds, having been buffeted all day by the howling wind, take flight and now find the freedom and energy to search the shallows for food, pretty to watch. As the Sun draws lower in the sky, a lone gull screeches as it crosses the rapidly quietening sky, burnished to a thousand shades of gold. What comes to mind? Of course, Richard Bach’s seagull of the “Jonathan Livingstone,” variety, looking for what is lost, while the Sun bids goodnight, to a fanfare of silent trumpets.
At Ayjah, we pause near the bridge as the slowly incoming tide, the brightening streetlights, and the diminishing Sun, offer new perceptions and imagery with every minute as the inexorable tide rolls in, the beached fishing boats and small craft, characters in the theatre of time and tide. The Al Ayjah Suspension Bridge too, unique in the region takes on a new persona, as the suspension cables and rails are lit with an array of lights. The sight drawing memories of other bridges and other towns and cities. Not quite the ‘Sydney Harbor,’ or ‘Madison County,’ but nevertheless, impressive.
A busy Corniche area is the perfect place too, as darkness finally wins the perpetual battle with the day, for us to enjoy the brightness of the beautifully lit lighthouse on the Southern side of the inlet. Flush with the shimmering radiance of artificial light, saying “look at me!” We look, and together recognise how change is so much a part of our lives, how it takes only the blink of an eye, and how we should recognise, embrace, and celebrate how much nature contributes to our every day.
TEXT BY RAY PETERSEN
PHOTOs BY Lena Petersen