Sunday, August 26, 2007

Ten from the Tide Pool

On Sunday morning, low tide was at 6:05 a.m., and, improbably, promised to be -.8 feet below sea level, nearly four feet lower than the late afternoon low tide the previous day. When we arose at 5:30 to prepare, the sky offered only the barest hint of a sunrise. Not enough to arouse the birds, but sufficient to allow hope. By the time we hit the beach, the pre-dawn light made flashlights unnecessary.

The green anemones were the first thing we all noticed. Some were 3-4 inches across when open, and there were spots where they piled in on top of each other. There were also smaller orange anemones. These were the size of quarters and half-dollars, and blended more with the rocks. The larger ones struck me as a bizarre life form. When I saw them grouped in a thick circular pattern, they seemed to say, "Take me to your leader."

The small white barnacles were very much alive. If you put your ear alongside where they massed on the rocks, they hissed and popped like an alien shortwave receiving signals from outer space. There were also thick patches of black mussel-like shells that were about the size of a small child's fingernail. Every once in a while, you'd come across a fat purple sea star. This one was at least six inches across.

As the sun came up over the horizon, two things occurred. The first was the turning of the tide. As the water came rushing back in, slowly at first, but then with real conviction, many small fish became stranded on the sand, where they patiently awaited water or death. There being obvious threats about, the girls and I went into rescue mode, flipping them back into the ocean as we could. There was a cosmic ridiculousness to my task, and I knew it. Somehow, though, it felt familiar.

The morning sun, when unobscured by clouds, bathed the area in a gorgeous golden light and made Twin A glow as if she were holy.


Stephany said...

thanks for these posts, just wanted to let you know its caused me to stay up late digging in my photo[as in old day printed pics]boxes for pics of my daughter i took of her in the rainforest over yonder. she was 2. now she is 19, and in a psych ward and it is taking me days to find the photos.
sometimes one does not know why they do something. and it ends up meaning something to another.

imprint your memories of this trip in your mind, so you may have them forever.

Mike said...

Kristen took similar pictures when we visited a tidepool on the Peninsula; she has a slide show on her computer that morphs from anemones to starfish to .............. which allows her some Zen moments when life happens-