Carl Sandburg was right. Just look at it today! To the left of these trees, Bamburgh Castle lies atop the Whin Sill wreathed in sea mist. Ever since dawn we have struggled to see familiar landmarks and, as the day dragged on, we saw less and less of the world as we know it, taking on trust what we believe to be there but is now utterly cloaked in murk. It feels miserably damp and chilly, despite it not being that cold. But it is one of those days on which all the landmarks shift and nothing is but what is not. The islands beyond the harbour have disappeared, the sun is resting and most of the seagulls are silent and thoughtful. The sparrows and tits got up late and have retreated to their resting places for most of the day, huddling together wistfully. The contrast with yesterday could simply not be more extreme!
Exciting things continue to occur, though. For the next ten days location filming for one of those big blockbuster films – Transformers: the Dark Knight – is taking place on the beach nobody but us wanted this morning. Just past six today, a crew was laying track and digging out the stream to carry cameras and equipment on to the dunes; wherever are we, the expressions on these men’s faces seemed to say. Around them the fog rolled and thickened.
To think that one day soon millions will watch the fruits of their labours on screens across the world; that we’ll be welcoming Anthony Hopkins and Mark Wahlberg to our familiar trundling-ground; that money will be made from making Oswald’s beach a place of action; that celebrity footprints will displace those who have gone before – the saints included – on this historic shore. And that tide after tide will efface them all as time brings in the darkening year. As for us, the closed beach (a first!) means that running towards the rising sun will take less time and, ironically, bring us into the light more quickly. A metamorphosis indeed.