Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Boreham with More on Wedge Bay

Wedge Bay is the most humiliating place in the solar system. If any scholar is proud of his knowledge of botany or zoology, or entomology, or ornithology, or any other -osophy or -ology, let him do as I have done; let him take with him a couple of inquisitive schoolgirls and go to Wedge Bay! He will find himself in a world that is simply overflowing with life. He will be bewildered by its teeming abundance, its confusing multiplicity, its endless prodigality. He will find life, in every possible and impossible phase and form, swarming and scurrying, flapping and fluttering, rustling and crawling, whispering and twittering, bounding and splashing, everywhere and all the time! He will see life peeping forth from every crack and crevice. Life is breaking out, and bursting up, and bubbling over everywhere. Kick a stone, or crush a shell, or stir a log or tear the bark, and new forms of life will unfailingly present themselves.

I have heard of men going to the city to see life. Deluded creatures! If they really want to see life, let them go to Wedge Bay! Here they will find life that is terrible, and life that is beautiful; life that is repulsive, and life that is charming; with all varieties and gradations of intermediate shades. Let your scholar go, I say, and test his erudition in this quiet spot. And let those curious schoolgirls probe into every place that protrudes and poke into every hole that yawns. And as they bring forth every moment, wriggling and kicking, some new and fantastic form of life, let them ask him, time after time, 'What is it, father, what is it?' And he will soon grow tired of the exacting exercise of finding safe and general terms with which to classify the new discovery; or, abandoning casuistry, he will weary of the monotony of his own voice as he confesses, again and again, his lamentable ignorance. And, in either case, his pride will vanish like a dream, and he will return from Wedge Bay a humble and a contrite man.

Nor does the trouble end at that. The humiliations of Wedge Bay do not spare me even at this excruciating; point. For, after all that I have seen, I am still oppressed by the painful conviction that most of the beauty of this charming place has really eluded me, and even eluded these sharp-eyed young foragers of mine. At every turn I am conscious of a feeling that there is a beauty lurking everywhere that I am too gross and too blind and too stupid to perceive.

F W Boreham, ‘Wedge Bay’, The Golden Milestone (London: Charles H Kelly, 1915), 113-115.

Image: another photo of Wedge Bay taken by FWB circa 1912.