It was a dark and stormy night.
This opening is infamous, but why? It seems innocent enough; descriptive, straightforward, to the point. Sure, it’s a little redundant, nights are usually dark, but “it was a stormy night” just doesn’t have the same rhythm.
Regardless, that phrase came to mind when trying to come up with a theme for the latest batch of pictures.
(Click on any photo for a much better look)
Waves crashing into a rocky shoreline. You can almost feel the salty mists blowing into your face, and hear the solid thump of tons of water colliding with megatons of basalt. The irresistible force takes on the immovable object, with the liquid remains fracturing, landing, and draining away. The storming of time; its endless assault ever so slowly eroding even the most determined rock. Whites of foamy spum, flashing against the dark of the stormy night.
Dark indeed, a nefarious assault on the… [pflutz, sputter, clunk; overwrought prose grinds to a halt.]
Ok, so maybe it wasn’t so stormy after all. Or even dark, much less night.
What it really was, was a stop on the Oregon Coast at an area best known for Thor’s Well and/or Devil’s Elbow. And for this post, an excuse to experiment with different editing effects on incoming torrents of surf incurring splashy headbanger headaches.
Thor’s Well is a pit eroded into the rock, 20 feet or so from the edge of the shoreline, that has an underwater channel. When the surf rolls in just right, water pressure pushes water through the channel and up the well causing a geyser, often with a companion cascade on the shore’s edge.
After the crash and the boom, all that water drains back into the well, through the channel, and back to the not so Pacific ocean for another go around.
We onlookers gathered around the well, looking for a strategic position that gave a good view – one without the specter of an unpredictable geyser dumping its wind-assisted contents on our heads.
The big splash wasn’t just in Thor’s Well. Sections of coastline were conducive as well.
A hundred yards further up the coast, smaller blow horns exist, along with the Devil’s Elbow.
It may not have been a dark and stormy night. But even on a calm ocean day, Poseidon can show up, hiding his claws in those ephemeral moments that only a camera notices.
Maybe it does take a dark and stormy night.
For what it’s worth, “It was a dark and stormy night” isn’t the complete text of the notorious opening. The full treatment?
It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.
– Edward Bulwer-Lytton, in his novel Paul Clifford, 1830.
Ok, that is a tad excessive. Think I’ll stick to Snoopy’s version…