Symbolic Forest

A homage to loading screens.


Beside the sea again

Or, resurgence from the waves

Regular readers might remember that two or three years back, I visited the Buck Beck Beach Bench, a strange and delightful bench built up from driftwood on one of the remoter stretches of Cleethorpes Beach. I haven’t been back very much since that visit, what for one reason and another, but I did keep following the Bench and its creators on social media. Because of that, I knew that twice since, it had been completely destroyed by storms; and then, rebuilt. After all, the Bench first started as a ramshackle, makeshift affair for dog-walkers to sit on whilst they waited for the tide to turn, and it was created by slow, organic growth rather than some grand plan. When it is destroyed, it comes back, recreated with the same impulse to create something, build something, and create a record that people stood in a particular spot and stared out at the ever-changing ocean.

A view of the Buck Beck Beach Bench

The bench is smaller now, much smaller than it was before, small enough that it can almost be captured in a single photo. The bench-builders still aim for everything the bench is made from to be safely degradable, something that will rot away harmlessly when it is washed away, as it inevitably will be.

A view of the Buck Beck Beach Bench

The new bench has moved a little from its previous spot which can still be identified from fragments of the previous bench lying about and projecting from the sand. It is on higher ground, now, higher above the waves. This does give it a more commanding view, but I doubt it will last as long as its previous incarnations. This is because it stands on top of a dune, close to its edge, and before very long that edge will have eroded away. It will erode quickly, both from the action of the sea at the spring tide and the footsteps of people climbing up and down from the shore to the bench and back to the shore again. I only give it a few months, before it is undermined and topples down into the water.

Closeup of the Buck Beck Beach Bench

But when it does, it will be rebuilt. And I’ll go down there again, take photos of what its latest regeneration looks like, at once the same but entirely, completely different. And then I will turn, homeward and landward, picking my path carefully back through the marsh.

View from the Buck Beck Beach Bench