3 minute read | 19:22 film

Arriving late on the clifftop I was guided along by a ghostly apparition.

An uncommonly pale Barn Owl quartered the campions that blessed the dry, sun bleached headland. Umbellifer blooms buzzed with lazy bees and skylarks thronged overhead, their mellifluous songs massaged by the sea breeze.

I followed the heady scent of seabird to the edgelands, already feeling the pangs of grief knowing that my time here had begun and so must soon end. Exactly why it gripped me like a long awaited homecoming I do not know, but some part of me welcomed another part of me back into this embrace of sea pink, puffin and porpoise.

I sat long into the night, midge bitten, prickle jabbed and consumed by the power of what lay before me. Life on the edge. I stayed long enough for the otherworldly chatter of the seabird colony to claim me, to become the songline of my being and promise never to let me go. Not fully.

I spoke words of libation, gifted the place the sweetest words I could find and made my way back to Big Black Van to rest until the sun whispered of his plans to rise again.

Dreaming deep seas throughout the dark hours I woke to a rosy dawn and tracked my way back to the tops. The sky seethed. Kittiwakes, razorbills, guillemots, fulmar, little gulls, herring gulls and gannets followed ancient unseen trails between cliff edge and the North Sea, foraging and welcoming the new day with a symphony written in a tongue that surely must grip all who hear it. The call of the Piper, drawing an audience to the edges of life.

Slowly, I made my way across the tops, careful to keep an eye on the headland which seemed to shapeshift in the changing light.

I sorely wanted to be greeted by puffin, the clownish character who evokes such a sense of melancholy, sadness even, and usually evades my searches. Again, as the sun broke free of the horizon and wandered skywards I was given only the briefest of glimpses. I let go of my hunt and decided to focus on the life that was willing to share this space with me. Primarily gannets.

There was a place on the clifftop that dipped into a fold of green sward well away from the path and I rested there a while, so close to three pairs of gannets that I could hear the swish of their wings as they got on with their day.

Over a few hours, as the sun rose to an arms length above the ocean, I too became a cliff dweller and sank into a world of spume, salt, spray and sea breezes. I began to think gannet thought-lines and see through the eyes of the bumble bee that busied itself on the clifftop blossoms.

As I stood to leave I espied two black bundles hurtling at top speed towards me and was amazed as they materialised into puffins that alighted not two strides from me. There was just time for a felt conversation between us before they tucked their crazy beaks under their wings and had a snooze. I decided to join them.

For parts of three long days I remained an edge dweller, wandering the craggy tops, peering down into the turbulent waters and falling that bit more in love with the being that is Coast. We got to know each others ways and shared secrets, some of which I brought back as words and images, and others dug deeper into my being than I have language for.

As the sun began his journey down on my final few hours I returned to the grassy cleft and sat by a lone gannet.

We gazed out together, watching the play of golden shimmers on the back of a dolphin, awed by the hues that fired the sky and pondering on the heart-aching beauty of the place. Here, these beings, insect, bird, plant and mammal showed the way to live on the edge. To grow, to play, to be curious and to create moments of magic with our lives.

As the kindly arms of darkness enveloped us, gannet and me, I made my way back to my other life.

Or I thought I did. Now, as I watch my filmic memoir I realise a part of me is still there, on the cliff edge, seeing through the blue sky sea eyes of that beautiful, loving bird.

When you have a moment do watch the film at the top of this piece. I hope you too sense a connection with the spirits of the place.

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  1. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful experience like this. It’s so fresh and full of the glory of life. Beyond words!

  2. Hi Jason. Finally found the time to watch this with the attention it deserved. Beautiful. Really lovely. Totally evocative of the coasts and their wildlife which I know and love. Thank you for sharing your magical experience.

  3. What a beautiful piece: enthralling. Its probably the first natural world piece of film I have enjoyed without reservation. I almost felt I was invading your space by watching it as it was so deeply personal and LIVE. Oh and the sky/seascape at the end was almost painfully profound. Thank you,

  4. Thankyou for sharing this wonderful piece of your time with the sea birds and your keen eye for detail from gnats to bees and the plant life on the seacliff . My parents moved to the isle of Skye in the early 1980s and taking my young children for holidays gave us the chance to get to know the wonders of the place .we love the sea on all her moods .never s top enjoying what makes life happy.

  5. That was absolutely brilliant, thank you. As I watched it I could meld into it and become part of the whole. May I say some of those scenes were stunning, absolutely inspired filming, and you wove it all together beautifully. Thank you for sharing your talents insights and connection to nature. X

    1. Thank you Beverly, this is kind of you. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and look forward to making more Earthlight films.

  6. Beautiful video beautiful words, just what I needed, being by the sea and listening to the birds and the sound of the waves, made me feel warm relaxed and connected. Thank you for sharing x

  7. Absolutely breathtaking and awe inspiring. The beauty of the coast – calling us ever homeward to ther belonging of our being. Deep gratitude

  8. Thank you Jason, such a beautiful film. I was totally transported by the sounds and the sights and felt every bit of tension leave my body as in my mind I strolled along those headlands.

  9. Ah deep thanks my friend for yet another stunning piece of observation through your talented eyes and hands. This film has come at a time of transition for me as I come to the end of my University course and the liminal edge of coast resonates deeply with me. A stepping off point and the opportunity of change and discovery of different worlds. Always a joy to see your images and read your words.

    1. Thank you Anne, this is kind of you. I'm pleased the film has landed with such perfect timing for you and know that you too enjoy the local coastline.

  10. Thanks
    So very touching and sharing Life on the Edge.
    Beautiful and breathtaking.
    It feels so good to be connected where l do not dare to go.

    1. You are welcome Magda. Thank you for your comments and I'm heartened that the film connected you to the ocean.

  11. S0 beautiful and atmospheric ! Really there aren't words worthy to describe it. Thank you for sharing !

  12. What talent you have Jason,your films transport me to another world and bring such pleasure to all of us watching.Put into words perfectly.Very well done.
    Christine.

  13. Thank you, thank you, thank you 🙏 Your words and film resonate so deeply and fill me with such emotion! A joy 💚

  14. It's a wonderful film Jason, thank you, but what has touched the heart are the deep and sensual words used in your experience of being on the edge. Truly heartfelt.

  15. What an amazing artistic talent. I am so privileged to have experienced this. I will share it with my children to show them real life & how it can be captured in a beautiful bubble to share. Thank you

  16. Jason, this is absolutely wonderful! Magical indeed! Filmed with love and that comes across so strongly. Your words resonant with a deep connection to this place on the edge. Thank you!

  17. I viewed your film in the presence of my twin granddaughters who are really knowledgeable about birds, trees, flowers, and ocean life.
    Thanks so much for showing this. Wonderful!

    1. This is lovely to hear Trevane, thank you. And it's so heartwarming to hear of future earth guardians with knowledge of nature.

  18. Choked with emotion at reading your words, Jason. And your beautiful fim; filmed with the eyes and ears in your heart,

  19. Thank you for sharing that Jason. What beautiful creatures & scenery. Makes you want to go & see it for yourself.

    1. It's a gorgeous place and quite a spectacle Jenny. I'm pleased you enjoyed it and hope you do indeed get to experience it first hand too. Thank you for your comment.

  20. Amazing film Jason as always. I live in California now and have been for the last 12 years so seeing the English countryside and the beautiful birds (especially the Puffins) again is magical for me, oh how much I miss good old England and you help to bring this to me through your wonderful films, thank you, Nicola and of course Blue 💙
    Namaste!

    1. Thank you Sheila. I'm so glad the film brought you back to this homeland again. The magic of the place stays with me.

  21. That was so relaxing and connected with the senses. Actually felt I was there. Thank you so very much Jason for sharing that with us. Beautiful.

  22. What a fantastic film, I felt the connection whilst watching it and felt incredibly free. Loved the post that went along with it as well. Just a big thank you.

    1. You are most welcome Anna. I'm very pleased you enjoyed the film and my piece. Thank you for letting me know.

  23. Pat, what a glorious film and you words combing them really appreciate “the love of the land”. Thank you for sharing am I allowed to save it for the darkest days of winter? Kind regards to you and Nicola for brightening my life xx

    1. I'm so pleased you enjoyed it Pat and yes, the film will remain on the webpage for you to dip into whenever you need. I like to think of it being revisited rather than being a one hit wonder. 🙂

  24. Magical ! Your films have the amazing ability to take me to another world. I could watch the sea in slow motion for hours. Even tho birds are not my favourite animal you captured the pure beauty & grace of them perfectly. I did spot one of my favourites tho in the sea. The Dolphin / porpoise. To see these creatures in their natural habitat is so special. As a family (3 of us & 2 little dogs. Yes we take the dogs & they do have life jackets) we have been lucky to sea kayak with a group of dolphins off the coast of Wales. They joined us & basically came for a play. You could see the bubbles coming up from under the kayaks as they swam below us. Then they would appear along side us as we paddled. As they left one leapt fully out of the water as if to say thank you & then they were gone. We had a good half hour with them all to ourselves. It was just magical. So thank you for your film that has brought back this beautiful memory,

    1. What a wonderful experience for you. What a magical time you had!
      I have a loose plan to create a much longer version of this film as I caught hours of footage. If I do (and there'll be lots of slow motion) I'll post it over on my Earthlight site and let you know. Thank you for your kind comments.

  25. Such beautiful poetic words to accompany your stunning images, Jason. Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity in sharing your creativity. I grew up in California and have always felt that the coast is one of those thin places between the worlds; an edge in more ways than one. It’s a place that never fails to thrill me and recharge my energy and optimism and imagination. So thank you for bringing all that to me here on the edge of west Lancashire.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Melanie. Yes I totally agree with you about the coast being a thin place. I feel that too when I'm out on the moors of West Lancashire behind our home.

  26. What a wonderful film & words, I had the privilege to go out on a boat just off Bempton cliffs. It was a wonderful experience to photograph the Gannets chumming also having puffins beside the boat. The biggest highlight of the day was when a sunfish swam beside the boat.

    Nature is wonderful & we must protect it for future generations.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Phil. I watched some of the boat trips off Bempton and wondered as to the beautiful views they would have. Alas I didn’t see diving from the cliff top view points. What an experience you must have had, a sunfish too!

    1. Thank you Tina. Yes the place really gets to me, and of all the films I have made this one has the deepest effect on me. xxx

    1. Thank you Alan. Primarily the coast around Flamborough on the Yorkshire coast but with some from various spots on the Cumbrian coastline too.

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