‘Here today, gone tomorrow’ is a phrase used of the ephemeral and transitory whether that’s a man – the phrase was originally used John Calvin’s 1549 Life and Conversion of a Christian Man about the brevity of a human lifespan – or the many facets of a consumer culture.
Twenty four hours can be a long time for some things: yesterday’s Easter Eggs barely made it past lunchtime, for example. After all, it’s a published fact that chocolate is my nemesis (Ox Magazine; April 2017), and that if I was ever written into a Marvel movie script (which is unlikely because my ninja kicks can be described as average at best), then the evil destroyer of the world with whom I would battle on dizzyingly-high platforms would undoubtedly be swathed in Cadbury’s purple.
Yet however fleeting a Crème Egg, one thing’s for certain: the phrase Here today, gone tomorrow is rarely used about geological formations. But if you’d said it about a famous rock arch off Western Gozo on 7th March, six weeks ago and a month after this photo was taken, you’d have been spot on. The following morning the twenty-eight foot tall ‘Azure window’, having borne witness to many generations of feet, just disappeared into the sea as its arch-nemesis Erosion took its toll with a well-practised flick of its meteorological cape.
This window may be gone (although there’s a lesser-known version at Wied il-Mielah which it is harder to photograph unless you have the superhero power of flight or are brave or foolhardy enough to go slack-lining there with a lens) but the Azure remains. Rich with blues, aquamarine and cyan, the waves are still the enticing colour of the pigment of the azirute stone, a soft mineral produced by weathering of copper ore deposits much prized by painters in the Middle Ages for a blue as deep and clear as the water lapping at the island’s edge and the sky reflected in it.
And although the window of time in which to pass through the more famous of the two arches has closed, the azure waters, age-old and steadfast, now promise a ‘veritable gold-mine of new underwater topography and swim-throughs’ for the diver. It’s a whole new chapter and the Sirens are calling…..