the pull of water, part two (September 21, 2018)
I know now where and when and how to find moon snails and sand dollars and ghost shrimp and agates, perfect mussels and giant lions mane jelly fish and obscene geoducks, depending on the season, direction of the tide, phase of the moon, incoming and outgoing storms dozens of miles away, direction of the beach, consistency of the sand, and angle of the sun.
I have been laughed at by an eagle from above, a crab from below, a seal from ahead, and a salmon from behind, for my lack of blubber and grace, and my deafness and blindness under water.
I have witnessed the life cycle of the bald eagle, from the mating cry to the fledgling’s awkward training flights.
I have apologized profusely to many a Great Blue Heron squawking indignantly at the human intruder interrupting his contemplation of the fish.
I have cried in and on and by and over and under the Sea, mixing my tears with hers.
I have not learned how to call in seals yet, but they join me often enough in my swims that it may not be coincidence any more, and the grey whales and orcas often enlighten me in my dreams.
I have been stung by a jelly on my belly, bitten by sand fleas on my knees, and had my feet shredded by barnacles so often that I don’t even care any more.
I have gone from swimming in a wetsuit to a swimsuit to a bikini to nothing and still cannot get enough of the deep blue stuff and its icy embrace.
I know where to hunt for lobster mushrooms, wild apples, and blackberries salty from the kisses of the sea.
I follow orca sightings the way normal wealthy adults follow the stock market and less wealthy ones the price of gasoline and hay.
I constantly agree with any random neighbor I happen to meet that it’s another gorgeous day on this lovely and loving planet of ours.
Or I sit in silence by the water’s edge for a moment, an hour, or all day.
I try and watch the tourists come and go without judgment, from stinky-breath Grey Whales and obnoxious Rufous Hummingbirds in the spring to out-of-place-looking pelicans in the summer and human barbecuers on Fourth of July and Labor Day, to the return of my friends the wild geese, overwintering in the neighbor’s cow pasture.
I can tell the direction of the tide and the size of a boat that passed by in the distance half an hour earlier by the urgency of the surf.
I can feel the pull of the moon in the tidal flow of the blood in my uterus and the waters in the bay.
I don’t leave the island without a book or change for fried clams because you never know when a half an hour ferry ride turns into a 5-hour wait because the ferry has run aground, and that is perfectly alright because we are all on island time.
I have feared the power of the current pulling me out into the open channel, floated for hours in knee-deep tropical bathtub water over tidal flats, felt my inner fire blasting in black-blue liquid ice while watching the snow melt on the beach, and learned to respect and honor the strength and limits of this human body of mine, so inadequately equipped for my love of the sea.
I eat like a horse because calories literally mean bliss and survival versus misery and hypothermia in the ocean.
I fall asleep to fog horns from passing boats and hooting owls instead of police sirens and train whistles.
I never not have sand between my toes or the smell of salt in my nose.
I am surrounded by beauty and abundance and I AM BLESSED!