I have been visiting Mersea since I was small and it has always held so much comfort, wisdom and magic for me. The place is under my skin.
It is a site of play and adventure. A place I have gone whilst falling in and out of love. A place I have rested and one where I have worked.
It has filled my head with wonderful stories and my belly with good food.
I go to feel quiet. I go to seek inspiration. To take me time. To feel connected to something outside of myself. To dream...
I have long known that I wanted to contribute to this place that has offered me so much. To give back something deservedly spectacular. Working in the park and getting to know it in a different way for the past 6 months or more has only deepened this desire.
This place is magic... And I am not the only one who thinks so. Twitchers, toddlers, dogs and their human companions. Other artists dreaming other visions of the place, friends having a stroll and a natter, flustered folks rushing for the foot ferry but periodically pausing to take in the view. It holds comfort and wisdom for them too.
And in the near future it will have changed dramatically. Predicted sea level rises are expected to wipe out 30-60% of Mersea Island's land mass by 2050...In less than 30 years the sea will wash over the Blockhouse, take under the pill box skeletons on the beach. She will have eaten more of the cliffs and begun to creep up towards the bird hide...
My home in Colchester will be closer to the water than it has ever been before.
And while most of the dwellings on the island will be safe enough the whole landscape will look different. How will the Strood cope? Will it need to be altered to carry folk over or will they have to turn to boats just like in the old times.
How will it feel to have more water between Mersea and the mainland... To be that little bit further away than it felt before...
Realistically this loss of land is happening all around the coastline of Britain. The money is not there to build or maintain the defences required to keep things just as they are, and this would be an increasingly futile effort over time anyway. The world has not reacted quickly or assertively enough on climate change to stop, or even to diminish, these sea level rises.
This project understands that change is something to be accepted, anticipated and possibly even celebrated in these coastal environments. So we propose to imagine what the palliative care for this particular place might involve. How might we capture and preserve it as we love it in this moment.
Working with the local community together with local artists we are working to collect and contrive an anticipatory folklore. To gather up the magic of the place in stories and songs that can be passed down long after the water has claimed the soil. To enjoy it for as long as we can and record it for that time in the future when we can not.
So please, come along and join us...
And together, let's go down to the Deepenings.
N.B : Maps taken from https://coastal.climatecentral.org/