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Chalk

Folkestone, June 2015

Folkestone


Chalk, photo essay by Ekaterina Vasilyeva


The White Cliffs are made of white chalk. The chalk is just like the kind used on chalkboards. Long ago, the whole place was at the bottom of a sea. Many tiny sea creatures died. They left their bones and shells there. The bones and shells were pressed together. They turned into chalk.
Heavy rain is not healthy for chalk cliffs. The top layer of the porous stone absorbs rainwater and becomes much heavier than normal.
Meanwhile, the chalk down at sea level can’t support the weight on top, and a slice of the whole cliff crumbles.

To invaders sailing from Europe, the sheer walls make England appear to be a ”fortress built by Nature for herself”, as Shakespeare described it. Defenders on the high cliffs rained defiance down upon Julius Caesar’s legions 2,100 years ago, and again on the Norman conquerors 11 centuries later – although both invading armies managed to make successful landfalls.

By its nature the white color somewhat neutralizes the effect of poly-chrome flowers, and indeed the entire material world. Therefore it can be easily understood the sufficiently frequent correlation the white with the void the space, disembodying, fading, with icy silence, and so on.

The see the true form of the cliffs you must be ”dive” into contact with them. Being there I feel thrown back to the very basics of my being.
Unobtrusive colors and sounds that make up for lack of excitement in intensity. Everything feels huge. Loud and vast and wide.

(2015-2016, by Ekaterina Vasilyeva)


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