Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The tide has turned

Long ago when I was a marine biology grad student in Oregon, I used to go down to the coast at least once every 2 weeks for the lowest tides, at new moon & full moon. During fall & winter the lowest lows are about 10:00 at night, in the spring & summer 5:00 in the morning.

I'd be out there alone, in the winter at night walking or wading on sand in shallow water to a rock sticking out of the sand, close in to shore, looking for the small algae & its sacoglossans I was supposed to be working on. In the summer it was much harder to find, and dawn would catch me far out in the rocky intertidal, kneeling down looking at the sides of rocks. Then it used to take me three low tides to find one piece of algae.

That sounds a little dangerous, but in fact I was never caught by surprise from behind by a large wave, because I was listening very hard for them.

And because I was listening for those extra large waves, I discovered that I could hear the tide change and start to come back in, whispering over the rocks.

The tide has turned for my mother now, she's going out with the waves.

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