Whatever season there is a beauty in Sark that bewitches artists and authors - and which is, reassuringly, not lost upon those that live here. The starkness of winter where trees bent like old men stand from the wind huddled and leafless; when storms lash the west coast with such fury that the salt-laden spray is carried high onto the island; and when a sudden fall of deep, powdery snow provides biscuit tin scenes at every turn.
With spring underway Sark’s woods take on a green hue and bluebells thickly carpet their grassy floors. A cuckoo might be heard, but out on the cliffs the young herring gulls have already fledged. Fulmars nest high above Pot Bay while the peregrines maintain their vigil: outlying small islands have been transformed into breeding colonies for black back gulls, guillemots, razor-bills and shags. The headlands and côtils are swathed in gorse’s golden blossom and the blackthorn’s frothy whiteness. On calm days the fishermen who work the marks around Little Sark pick up the coconut scent of the gorse flower on gentle wafts of warm breeze.
Summer and the beaches are occupied. Viewed from la Coupée, high above Grande Grève, the fine golden sands shelve ever so gently towards a calm sea hued with varying shades of blues and greens that belie the island’s temperate, rather than tropical, location - there are beaches for each moment according to the sun’s position in the sky and the rise and fall of the tide. The wooded valleys provide relief from the heat of the day, the damp coolness of the air beneath the thick canopy of trees soothing the bathers’ return from the beach at Dixcart. In lush green meadows Guernsey cows sit with time to kill, indolently chewing the cud and a good few hours still to elapse before they make their slow and lumbering way to the dairy for evening’s milking. At night the clear skies are filled with more stars than can ever be imagined. The Milky Way sits high above, a band of creaminess rippling across the heavens, while far beneath along the lanes and across the fields bats dart dangerously.
Autumn is the time of plenty, when the majestic bass with its silver scaled flanks is king of the sea and king of the restaurant. The harvests have been gathered and now the fields fill with mushrooms, trees stand laden with fruit and sweet chestnuts fall. The once tall, green bracken is shrunken and takes on a deep red-brown that gives the côtils a sombre and brooding air. The woods have become golden and along the roadways and tracks Jersey lilies protrude in petulant defiance. Warm days are announced with misty dawns and the sea draws swimmers still with its store of summer’s warmth. The grasshoppers and crickets play on obliviously while the bees bring pollen and nectar into the hives late into the autumn in readiness for winter’s dearth.
Sark is beautiful in all her moods.