Sea Level Rise: The Deceit of Water

The boundary between land and sea is firmly anchored: Rock persists, hardened and immobile; Water continues in her normal malleable state.

Recently however, this boundary has been changing, blurring. Rock and Water have been collaborating, combining forces, morphing. They whisper together in dark corners, plotting, to erode our way of life, piece by piece. Suspicious, tricksy. They are ganging up on us.

But it’s not Rock’s fault. Water is the undecided one: oscillating, swelling. Is her tide in, or out? What’s her temperature today? Are her waves piqued this afternoon, or can the boats go out? Is her surface blindingly reflective again, or has she absorbed the sunshine this time?

Water must be angry. There’s no other explanation for her behaviour. We have paid tribute with our untold riches: food (oil slicks and plastic), shelter (in our new sauna), and water (glacial ice). But apparently, despite our constant offerings, these gifts have upset her.

Make no mistake: Water is rising up.

She stews. She lingers. Shrouded in shadow. Devising conspiracies and schisms. Inching and manoeuvring her great mass. Deliberate, creeping, vengeful.

These days, Water’s darkness can only be intruded by veins of light. With strength and determination, these veins penetrate Water’s rising wrath. They permeate and influence, inspiring persistence and sustainability, calming Rock’s trembling core. Rock welcomes this gift of durability. But sadly, it’s still not enough.

Water seems to placate Rock by lying calmly, all the while permeating, infiltrating, eroding. Assiduously, one grain at a time, Water’s deceit succeeds in irreversibly reforming Rock.

With Water triumphant, Rock finally learns, the hard way, not to turn its back on Water. And realises that it never even had a chance – because Water. Always. Wins.

(Sea level rise, Amalfi coast, Italy. Winter 2022-2023. Single exposures; intentional camera movement.)

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