The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

I missed a meeting…

Posted by | November 19, 2016

Sharing tidal excitement with Reserve Environmental Educator, Linda Littlefield Grenfell

I missed a meeting.

Let me explain.

So, there is this marsh, see. And there are these things called tides. They work together to distract people like me in the most marvelous way. People who grew up around predictable pond water. Don’t get me wrong, I love my memories of growing up on Long Pond just outside of Rangeley, Maine. I can’t imagine a better place to be a kid.

Once upon a time, however, my dad got in the driver’s seat of our station wagon and pointed it east. Three hours and a box of untoasted Pop Tarts later, we were in Georgetown, Maine, in a cottage overlooking a tidal river. My brother, sister and I could not get enough of the changing landscape. Low tide meant shallow, warmer water and digging for clams in the mud flats. Thin waves began to populate the river, skidding in under the breeze. The water grew, spread and deepened like it was in charge. The boss of things. Beneath the waves a current countered my swim strokes and insisted I go upstream. High tide.

I don’t remember much about the storm that blew up during our stay, except the thrill of watching the water climb higher. It rose and rippled toward the cottage steps. Barred from swimming, I watched the scene from a big picture window. Looking straight out from the glass, I could imagine the land disappearing, and being out to sea in our cozy little cottage.

There's something about the tides, and the changes they bring. Which brings me to that meeting I missed, on the day of a recent very high tide, brought about by planetary motions and alignments that this History major struggles to understand. I believe it all, but can explain only bits and pieces of it to myself.

When looking at the marsh, not far from Laudholm beach, it is philosophy and feeling that take over. And adjectives. Lots of adjectives. The brain consults the senses about how to describe the scene in words. Oh, don’t bother, the senses say. It is sight, mostly, that tries to catalogue the dramatic changes. Water is everywhere, bearing up lazy floats of marsh grass and turning bison-sized chunks of driftwood into periscopes. The Reserve’s floating dock is really floating, its rope tethers stretched like arms in a challenging game of Twister. Left hand red, right hand green. Hold on, now!

It does hold on, because there’s room for the water to spread out wide and graceful, turning the marsh into a broad bay, reflecting the gray sky. Up close, at my feet, it is dark and shining. I squat to look into the water's acrylic clarity. Somewhere the otters, the ones who have been spotted on the banks of the Little River, or crossing Skinner Mill Road, are swimming in places they usually cannot. I am thinking about the water, the dramatic changes, the scene. Not about the meeting, which had already started.

Later, I apologized. To myself, I vowed to be better organized in the future. Organized enough to bring more tidal awareness into my life, so that when the next dramatic tide happens, I will know to schedule around it.

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