Walker Smith on kayaking

IMG_7735On a late July day, just as the tide was turning on the Isle of Palms, SC, Joy and I kayaked to the end of Morgan Creek where it gives way to Cedar Creek and went left for an hour of twists and turns to come out into Dewees Inlet at the north end of the island. To the right, the Atlantic broke sharply on the shore and the old shipwreck in mid-channel.  We turned left to paddle around to the Seven Reaches Creek stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway. Ahead of us, on this radiant, crystalline, cloudless day, an unbroken panorama of marsh and sky filled our view. A line of utility poles stood puny in the distance where the full expanse of blue touched the horizon. And far away, the twin spans of the cable-stayed Cooper River Bridge loomed large as a shimmering white silhouette of a tall ship canted into the wind under full sail. We drifted quietly with the current for a long lyrical moment until a jet ski broke our reverie. We took up our paddles, turned into its wake, and then made our way home to a cold beer and a cool afternoon breeze on our porch swing.

Image by Walker Smith.

Eleanor Cooksey on tin mines

Clearwell_Caves,_lake_and_cave_roofIn the course of my summer holiday camping in the Forest of Dean, I had the opportunity to visit Clearwell Caves. These are natural caves which have been mined for their ore deposits. As I escaped the dank dampness below to face the drizzle up above, I pondered on the relevance of the caves. At a time when the fracking debate heats up in the UK, it is useful to look back and see how we have dealt with new resource opportunities in the past. Clearwell Caves has a tradition of Free Miners: individuals born and living within a defined local area have the right to work a ‘gale’, a right contested over time but still surviving today. However, as the moment for these resources has passed, these traditions now become quaint rather than the cut-throat. I wonder how we will view fracking rights and access once their moment has passed.

Image of Clearwell Caves from Wikipedia.


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