We were staying for a few days, in a friend’s flat, on the outskirts of Porth and walked one morning to Trevelgue Head, one of a series of beautiful headlands along the northern coast of Cornwall. The week before we arrived, the shops on the front, at nearby Fistral, had had their wood and steel walkways ripped down in a storm, as if come from angry god.
It was a bright, cold, gusty, blue-skied morning. We’d wrapped up in waterproofs, scarves, hats and gloves. The last, so as we could use our binoculars, with which we were now watching the various types of seagull dive and catch fish when, from nowhere, we saw massive clouds of sea spray fired up into the air.
Like comic book ghosts huge white sheets of water appeared suddenly and then drifted slowly through the air of the coastal inlet below us. The beauty of this, along with the blustering wind and crashing waves, took our breath away. Peering over the cliff edge we could see that the incoming tide was pushing seawater into a cave or large crevice. After a couple of seconds the seawater would shoot out in a great plume of white with a grumbling thunder as if the Cornish rock were awakening, roaring, choking, and spewing angrily.
One realized how easy it would be to make a god of this type of event. It was as if the earth had spoken in a loud, tremendous voice, saying, ‘Listen, I am here. I am power.’
A short time later, having moved to get a better view of exactly how this volume of water was being projected, and spewed aloft so forcefully, as the blankets of spray were caught on the wind, we again stood amazed as the air borne water passed through and highlighted the arc of a rainbow.
It was magical. The sea rushing in, the water filling the cave, a moaning boom, then a massive spume of white which then met with and revealed the ethereal momentary streaks of diaphanous colour.
I could have invented a deity from this natural phenomena right then and there. A god whom you crossed at your peril. An awesome, angry, impetuous heavenly creature who had wandered heaven and earth and decided to grumpily settle in these rocks hoping for peace from both god and man. If you disturbed him you’d better have good reason.
Perhaps, now in the peaceful aftermath of the recent storm, the shop keepers at Fistral should not only repair their walkways and shopfronts but erect a small statue to this god’s honour? Keep him happy and perhaps the Cornish rocks will protect and the water defences will ward off the sea next time.