Marking time – water edition

I wrote something else entirely and … it’s not ready yet. So instead, I did say recently I wanted to mark time by the water. I can’t believe I live right by the ocean. That I get to marvel and be perplexed by how tides work. I discovered last night that my thought that I prefer high tide to low was just wrong… or at least for last night. It was high tide, and it made it so that even though the beach was less peopled than normal, there was still so much less of it to share. It’s also had some erosion over the summer so that there’s these little plateau-like splotches of sand. And I got myself out in the middle of one where I had to backtrack to get to the next one unless I wanted my pants to get fully soaked 🙂 Miscalculation. But the sunset was still gorgeous.

Image of sun setting over dark tree light with light blue sky and striated clouds in the wind from a sandy beach.

I think marking time won’t just be by tides. It’ll be that noticing how the sands have shifted. It’ll be noticing already that if I go in the evening, generally I need either long pants or long sleeves because tee and shorts is getting chilly. And long sleeves needs to win for while so I can still kick the water about as I walk in the surf. Backtracking is boo-hiss. Soon enough I’ll catch my breath when I put my feet in as the weather and water get bitter and colder. So many things I get to look forward on my beloved beach.

Image of water over beach where the sand and water both look gunmetal grey and a pink to yellows to blue sky with some whips purple and grey clouds over the ocean and jutting rocks

Early this past week, tides were low after work (genuinely — I need to figure out how all that works). In any case, it was super low, so the sand bar between my beach and an island was all above water. So I trekked all the way out there and it was glorious. If watching waves splash up the beach and onto my feet is delightful, having it come from two different sides of “beach” as I walk along the sand bar was awesome. I spent way too much time out there being mesmerized by it. A few nights later, tide was higher and covering it about a foot in most places, so I didn’t go out in it since I was in street clothes. But I got to see the coolest, um, four square looking… pattern? Where the two directions of water are hitting at each other over the sand bar and rippling back waves. So mesmerizing. And peaceful. I could have stood there most of the evening and enjoyed it.

Image of ocean water rippling to meet in the center of a four-square of currents and splashing up with a small island in the background looking orange, bright in the setting sunlight.

I went on a couple of other walks to a playhouse and general “downtown” area on other nights, which take me to the inner harbor. Totally different vibe. Nothing I’d ever put my feet in 🙂 But it has a charm of its own. Especially after a play when it’s dark out and you can just see the black inky shapes of various boats and hear the water lapping at them.

I’m sure in 2-3 months, I’ll discover something new about both — like how weird the harbor will be without a lot of boats in it. It’s a big fishing town, so I imagine we will still have boats all year long but the pleasure boats and sail boats and so forth will be gone. As will a lot of our traffic both on the roads and on the sand 🙂 I’ll have to take this picture with shoes on instead of in bare feet. And I look forward to it.

Image of ocean water meeting the edge of a golden sand bar, reflecting a golden sun and looking back toward the main beach with the sun beginning to set over windmills.

All of those things I look forward to. But I look forward to the peace in my head more than perhaps any other thing. I can’t worry when I’m by the water. I can’t think 10 steps ahead or worry to much about steps I’ve already taken. Nothing seems to put me in the present so effectively as measuring where the water is on the sands, how high or low or quick the waves and surf and coming in or going out, how high or low the sun is in the sky and what temperature the water is over my fit. For me, the ocean and everything that comes with it is a gift of “presence” for me. The whole experience is meditative. The whole experience so much bigger than me. It’s a lullaby for my brain that never shuts down. A gift.

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