Saturday, June 21, 2014

Stepping out of myself and into a tidal pool

I borrowed this picture until I can download my own.
I'm standing on the edge of the Pacific Ocean at Ruby Beach at low tide. Because we (well, really THEY) want to explore the tidal pools.

I don't like tidal pools, where trapped murky water imprisons unseen critters that slither through a  dense cover of algae. No matter where they are.

These tidal pools connect Olympia National Park to the Pacific on the outer edges of the state of Washington. I am here with my husband, Allen, our dog, Jacob, and four-sevenths of the Rumo family from Cicero, NY. Three of the four Rumos with us are little boys, ages 9, 9 and 8. They and their mom want to play in the tidal pools. So we head down the hillside to do so.

I plan to sit at the edge and just watch. And hold my nose. But mom immediately heads back up the hill to the restrooms, leaving me -- the tidal pool hater -- to watch the boys.

We wait. I look out toward the Pacific  -- way far away because it's low tide, its waters ebbing from huge barnacle-covered rocks. Then I look back to the boys, killing time until mom returns. Kicking sand.

I sigh. I know what  have to do. I have to overcome my loathing of  murk and slither to begin these kids on a great sea adventure. "Come on, boys," I yell (hiding my disgust), and head for the nearest rock.

I look back. They follow. I look down, no murkiness. The damp sand is clean. The water cool. No smell.

At that rock we find a world  populated with sea stars, anemones, brine shrimp, sea worms, barnacles and dozens of other lifeforms. They live in water so clear I can see individual grains of sand. The vivid oranges and purples of the starfish accent the black and white muscles, the yellow lichens and green anemones. They boys giggle, dance about, point, even climb.

It's a beautiful world unlike any I have explored. No yuck or muck.

When mom returns, we explore more. For hours. So  I guess it's true. That sometimes you have to put your preconceived notions aside, suck it in and just do it, go out on a limb. Because that's where the fruit is.

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