Cerulean. Aquamarine. Cobalt. Sage. Sorrel. All undulating in shimmering bars. Matt and impenetrable in cloud, yet translucent and brilliant when brought to life by light. A spectrum of water colours swirling langorously and loyally around an achingly beautiful enclave. Surrounded almost entirely by tides, that have sulpted the deeply loved land as they do driftwood, all contours and curves. It has to be seen to be believed. Perhaps it is the sand, beneath, which is in itself both vibrant and banded. It turns the surf of Porthminster in to a pale, milky glow. The coarser black-flecked grains of Porthmeor lend the water a deeper, wilder pigment, as the waves heave themselves on to the shelved beach. Porthgwidden sand has grains as unpredictable as the waves it teases visitors with, from toe-lapping ripples to thigh-sweeping swell.
The very air is special in St Ives, and refracts the best of the sea, at all times. Each to their own, but sunset is where it all reaches its pinnacle. At high tide, the waves bring a fine mist to the beach, and the sea is shot through with hues, from crystalline below to vermilion above, from the sinking sun. Even when the sun leaves, a glow remains, lending luminescence to the foamy backwash of every curl. The light even brings the deep, green rockpools to life. Sheer, current-carved walls cradle blue-swirled stones and pebbles that look like the Earth photographed from space. The blue green grey is everywhere, and even more accented by ox blood red sea anemones and ochre limpets living in these submerged worlds.
The colours of the water get in to the eyes and swirl around the bones. It is seductive. Even when delving in to St Ives streets the breathing of the sea is there. Even when rained off the beach, the granite and slates of the houses shine with marine lustre, beckoning a return to the water. Even casting the eyes downward is a tease, for the pale sands wind their way around cobbles and flagstones. No, the whole place is a canvas of colours. That, perhaps, is what makes it so awfully difficult and upsetting to leave. To turn way from those St Ives colours and face grey, monochrome roads and skies. Yet there is one consolation. The towns shops may change. The beach shelves rise and fall. Not so the colours. They remain. They always will.
© Tom Tide 2016