Today, the littlest one and I decided to make our way down 1001 Steps and under the train tracks to the beach. We chose today in particular because we knew that the tide would be low. Usually, the beach here is very rocky and strewn with rather large boulders. So to venture out on a low tide along the sandbars is exciting.
We also know that a low tide unearths, unwaters I suppose, all sorts of surprises. It brings the bald eagles right onto the beach gathering clams and fish and who knows what else. As the little one tries to edge closer to the eagles, or any other heron or gull that might be nearby, the great birds stretch their mighty wings and carry their bodies right over our heads their talons still dangling. Ominous, yet majestic.
The waters are full of starfish and crab and seaweeds and little darting fish. The clams spray salty water up our legs if we step too close for comfort. Sea foam washes on shore and gives little bits of itself over to the wind. The tidal pools are warm and the streams of returning water cool on our feet and ankles.
In less than an hour our sandbars will have disappeared. Tomorrow when the tide steps out again, the water will choose its course slightly differently. The birds and fish will find new spots for themselves. The clams, new holes.
The edge of the sea is full of mystery and resilience. It is a place of reconnection to one’s self and the great world that encompasses us.
Rachel Carson’s essay The Marginal World captures the fragility and beauty that the edge of the sea offers us if we choose to pay special witness to it.