Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Walk in my Favorite Ocean

I love when the tide is out and I can walk far out on the lovely waved sand. In cold weather I'll put on water proof shoes and walk out as far as I can. In warm weather I'll wear short shorts and walk from Dane Street Beach to Lynch Park Beach.

There haven't been many beach days for me this year--it's been rainy or I've been busy on weekends. The few beach days I've had have been high-tide days. There's nothing wrong with a high tide day--those are for sitting on the beach and reading a book while baking and then quickly dipping myself when I get too hot. Low tide beach days are for walking over the whale road from one beach to another.

Walking on the whale road means walking over parts of the ocean that are generally not visited by people--that's part of what makes it fun. I see lovely manes of seaweed and strange things that feel off of boats and old lobster traps. Also, usually the water is clear because people haven't been walking in it.

Unfortunately for me, I showed up at the tail end of low tide, so many people had been walking in the water, so it was rather murky. I took my flip flops off because it was annoying trying to walk with them on, but that was before I got to the parts of the ocean that were murky. Still, I got to see a few interesting things for my troubles--I saw an old lobster cage that had seaweed in three different colors growing on it. I saw a seagull with a whole skate in its mouth. A whole skate.

That was the end of my walk being any fun. My brain likes to find things to be afraid of. I have an overactive imagination and I'm twitchy and obsessive. This fear-loving part of my brain does not listen to reason. "There could be skates in the water" it says. "If there was one that the seagull found--there's one that your foot could find. You can't see where you step, and they blend in with the sand." It does no good to remind this part of my brain that in 50+ years members of my family have been beach-bumming and sea-bathing in Beverly no one has ever been attacked by a skate.

It doesn't matter. I am suddenly sure that I'm going to be the outlier--the one who stepped on a skate. I can't see my feet and suddenly I need to get to the rocks where the seagull who was eating the skate was. Not being able to see my feet is problematic, even if I wasn't suddenly afraid of skates, because there are rocks, and seaweed (which is slippery and I'd prefer not to have an emergency seating because I've got my phone with me) and possibly broken beer bottles. I remind myself that I've only seen dead skates in the water by the beach. "When have you seen live skates? Only on the break-water in Gloucester--that is deep water." That memory doesn't help because I remember how the skates looked twitching about and how the fishermen avoided the skates tails. I only picture my foot landing on one and it twitching about to sting me.

I arrive at the rocks and clamber up. I have ruined a perfectly good walk by letting my panic monster have something to panic about. Well no, not ruined--I walked half a mile at least through the water before I freaked out and I still have the rocks to scramble over and the tide pools to admire. As I clamber over the rocks I watch an old man with a fishing pole take his grand daughter out into the water. "That guy has spent much more time than I have on the beaches of Beverly and he wouldn't be bringing his grand daughter out if he expected her to step on a skate." I told myself. But logic doesn't work on the panic monster. So I stayed on the rocks until I got to Lynch Park.

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