High Tide

By , October 26, 2011

I’m pleased to report that our connectivity problems with satellite Internet seems improved. My earliest post here was truncated because of the difficulty, but now I can expand on it as originally intended.

If you’re reading Mary Oliver’s Twelve Moons as a lunar calendar with me this year, it’s time for another poem. For this month’s new moon, the poem is Sunday Morning, High Tide.

Toward the end of this year of observing the lunar changes through Ms. Oliver’s book of poetry, I continually marvel at how well the poems synchronize with the progress of the year. Then I remember that I had to mess with the sequence of poems a bit to make some of them work out! Like this one.

It just so happens that tomorrow will be our highest tide of the year. We’ll see a 21.11 foot high just after 1:30 p.m. This is always exciting, but perhaps more so because today’s 40-45 knot gale is predicted to ease to a “mere” 35 knots. The humped up seas will come even farther up our beach than the tide will rise. You can bet that part of my work day will be spent over at the platform, pulling our boats up away from the water!

I am fascinated by the movement of the tide. I’m thrilled to live in a part of the world that sees some of the most drastic tidal differences on the planet. It’s a blessing to have one’s surroundings change so radically in the course of a day. Not only is the beach covered and uncovered, but the ocean reacts to the shore differently as the water level changes. Swells that went largely unnoticed at one height suddenly turn to raging battering rams at another. It’s very exciting.

I envy Ms. Oliver’s sandy beach, though. I’ve wandered other Alaskan shores where stretches of sand have allowed a more intimate observation of tidal movement. There have been times when I have actually seen the moment at which the tide ceases to flow and begins to ebb. Such moments give me a mystical sense of connection to the planet, of being alive and aware of what’s happening around me—constantly, beneath the notice of most of my fellow humans, but perhaps far more important than that which does hold their interest.

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