A Tsunami of Towers

Here, you can see almost forever.  It is a great green plain bounded by low wolds to the west and the North Sea to the east, by the River Humber to the north and the shining mudflats of the Wash to the south.  It is a landscape for seven-league boots and ten-league thoughts, as the sun falls behind the small, blued summits and shadows rush away eastward.

It is a desirable, debatable territory maintained and menaced by countless capillaries—creeks, inlets, havens, estuaries, outfalls, deeps, lakes, meres, ponds, bogs, swamps, waters, rivers, streams, becks, brooks, ditches, drains, dykes, sykes, cuts, sluices, holes, lades, gowts, and gulls—which may at any time rise up and overtop the embankments, tops, rises, sills, bridges, lanes, ways, droves, pullovers, and gaps.  At the lowest tides can be seen the stumps of trees among which animals and men hunted and were hunted 10,000 years ago, and the more recent ribs of ships left behind on seal-haunted sandbanks—and there are the semiremembered, semifabulous stories of Great Storms, important ports drowned, wharves washed away, straightened waterways torn out of alignment, masonry dredged up by nets, kingly landing places laid low, abbeys annihilated, church bells heard tolling underwater.

The ancestral antediluvian experience and the ever-present apprehension of dangers and drownings inevitably to come are just aspects of a complicated and continuing saga, because...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here