Friday, December 28, 2012

The Turning of the Tide

I love being on the beach when the tide turns.
When the water stops retreating and begins attempting to eat up the shore again. Lapping higher and higher.

Some years ago I was at Nags Head, North Carolina at the turning of the tide.  For several minutes there were NO Waves. The sea's edge remained still and the ocean looked like a lake.

However, I've not seen this at Del Mar beach in California.  Probably because I do my walking where the San Dieguito River pours into the ocean, pushing the waves further and further away from the shore until there is only the river streaming into the ocean.

However, the ocean fights back. The tide always returns, pushing back, fighting back, sweeping over the newly exposed sand where dogs and people are playing.  This isn't a gradual creeping up the sandy slope.  No. It's surge and retreat, surge a bit more and retreat, throwing a Surprise Wave (yes, it's really called that) or two way up the sandy beach then dragging whatever it found back into the sea. For the next time.  For the next wave, which tries to reach even higher.

At low tide, the beach is 50 to 100 yards wide.
At high tide, the waves lash against the pilings and rocks protecting the seaside homes, curling over the first four, the first six steps leading from the houses (or from the public access road) down to the sand. At high tide the waves have conquered the river and are roaring up stream, under the bridge to splash against the Coastal Railway embankment where the river turns.

The best time to go to the beach is at low tide, so you can dance with the waves coming ever closer and closer, higher and higher up the beach.

We did this today.
The 13-year- old was taking pictures of the sunset with her brand new camera.
In bare feet.
I was standing further away from the waves, warning her when a big one was coming, hoping she could dance away from the cold, cold water sweeping higher and higher.
She had bare feet.
I had shoes.
I didn't get wet, but she did.  She did.
And she didn't care.
At all.
(You should see the wonderful sunset pictures she got.)

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