The Egglet released around a week ago beached on the marsh edge yesterday, just twenty feet from its original point of departure and I immediately relaunched its more weather worn self. The wind is having a stronger effect than the tide on this small but lightweight orb and I hope a Winter north-easterly might eventually carry it toward the Solent.
‘Egglet No1’ was launched yesterday after some delay due to adverse weather (south westerly winds which would have quickly returned it to its point of departure). An easterly wind and a neap tide carried it to a marsh island around sixty metres distant, where it will stay until spring tides around full moon allow it to venture further. It carries the shell of a five year old common whelk as well as the egg cases of the same species, previously gathered from this location.
Empty egg cases of the common whelk are fairly frequent spongy finds amongst the detritus of the tide line beside my own Egg. The adult whelk is less evident, though I found the shell of the five year old below (if every spiral marks a year), not far from the type of sac it would have spawned from. Both are now part of a growing collection inside the Egg that helps to relate the life and times of my riverine parish.
Nick and Caroline came visiting today, bearing a gift of fresh eggs from their own Buff Orpintons. Vasari wrote in his ‘Lives of the Artists’ that the Florentine Piero de Cosimo (1462 – 1522) lived largely on hard-boiled eggs, which he prepared 50 at a time while boiling glue for use in his (egg) tempera artworks. Vasari wrote that he lived “more like a beast than a man” and was not inclined to clean his studio. I hope to be more rigorous with the broom and also manage a more varied diet, but I do share Piero’s love of landscape and quest for knowledge of flora and of animal life.
The blueprint for the egg structure, echoes the symbolism of the egg as a blueprint of life. An aesthetically perfect and compact capsule, the egg contains in embryo the essentials for new life in most of the animal kingdom and is closely related to the seed, which encapsulates the same meaning within the world of flora. A great scientist of the Seventeenth Century, William Harvey, wrote ‘ex ovo omnia’ – everything comes from an egg. From primate to plankton it embodies the idea of new birth and renewal, protection and fragility. In an urban 21st century world where we are increasingly disconnected from nature this ancient archetypal symbol will nurture re-enchantment and understanding as a step toward a sustainable future.
While these ideas will be shared virtually online, I am floating older tried and trusted means of making contact…