Low Tide (All Scoured Clean)

The Edge consists of the softest spray of foam…not so much a line of division, rather a place of dissolution and renewal. 

An early morning jaunt to the beach on the last weekend before the end of the school year (any later and the traffic dissuades). The pleasant surprise of coinciding with a low tide. (The forever un-repaid privilege of living 20 minutes from the ocean)

The low tide is an invitation to move into the Void – a space usually consumed by frothy violence. Children in bathing suits, screaming songs of fearful joy. The water in Northern California never less than frighteningly cold; medicine to the ankles and calves, steeping the body in a painful shock that, with enough patience, numbs and subsides.

Low tide from a distance looks and feels quieter; up closer we enter a new kind of organic tumult – creatures living out their lives, suffering their own travails, enjoying their own kinds of breakthroughs. We’re walking through their neighborhood and don’t speak the language – that feeling of lucid attention to every wondrous detail running concurrently (electrically) with a deep Unfamiliarity.

Low tide is a reminder that the marks we make in life are transitory – as well as the marks life makes on us.

The austere Martian surface as seen from a passing satellite at an elevation of 200 kilometers. (Or rivulets of beach sand 5 minutes old – and five minutes from oblivion – photographed from 12 inches above)

Low (ebb) tide opens up an expansive palette, a shimmering Impressionist mirror. The touch of feet like so many drops of paint.

“At a low ebb” – meaning: “In a bad way” or “Not going so well” or “All tuckered out.” A lovely English idiom that also, clumsily, misses the mark. Educators are far too used to surfing at high tide – always on the cusp of getting tipped and swallowed, staying upright on that next wave courtesy of muscle memory and a sharpened sense of danger.

I would hope for all of them the most radical act of finding the emptiest possible space for sprawling out (face down or face up – individual preference) and letting the year’s unquantifiable dose of adrenalin seep out – the ebb tide will do the rest.

After 176 days of school I’m not really cognizant anymore of just how fatigued I feel – the daily push is habit and the nerves, bones and muscles move together in rehearsed tandem (the mind is in there too, though not always in synchronous fashion). Dissolution in all its unknowable tones and shades; the most vivid sense of renewal at lowest tide.

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