Henry's Bench. Photography and Text by Keith R Wahl

October 04, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

A simple ode to elemental things

Henry's Bench

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Henry's Bench 20221002 850_4576Henry's BenchA bench made of drifted and found materials alongside a dune overlooking Moonstone Beach on a stormy day in South Kingstown, Rhode Island

One of my favorite author's is Henry Beston. A couple of decades ago I read the book The Outermost House and became enamored. It was the book that helped establish the Cape Cod National Seashore. The subject was Beston's chronicle of living out of a minimalist cottage on the shore for a full year. This entailed sunshine and storm and everything between.

Of my two favorite quotes of Beston are these:

“The world to-day is sick to its thin blood for lack of elemental things, for fire before the hands, for water welling from the earth, for air, for the dear earth itself underfoot. In my world of beach and dunes these elemental presences lived and had their being, and under their arch there moved an incomparable pageant of nature and the year.” - Henry Beston, The Outermost House

“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach. I have heard them all, and of the three elemental voices, that of ocean is the most awesome, beautiful and varied.” - Henry Beston, The Outermost House

Visiting Moonstone Beach on a stormy day, we found a makeshift bench. From that spot, the whole of the beach and the ocean out to the horizon is in view. The wind is coming in from the southeast and the waves are piling up. I know that Mr. Beston would approve of this spot to take in the view. Then he would get up and cup his hands behind his back (so the wind would not catch his arms) and survey the area. And Mr. Beston would rejoice in the elemental things and the sound of the wind and ocean. And for certain, he would not lament that it was not a sunny day.


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© Keith R Wahl, Made From RI/Made From RI Gallery, 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Keith R Wahl and Made From RI/Made From RI Gallery with appropriate and specific direction to the original. 

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