Ebb and Flow

One of the happiest accidents of my birth is that I was born along the New Brunswick shore of the Bay of Fundy, home of the highest tides in the world.  (How high?  Try 54 feet in difference between high and low tide at the head of the Bay, and about 28′ where I live.)

When you are born beside the sea, it becomes a part of who you are, and when you live along the Bay of Fundy, you are used to watching the water height, even if you aren’t conscious of it.

Driving across the Harbour Bridge, you register how far up or down the boats are in relation to the dock.  And — because of those incredible tides (160 billion tons of water flowing into the Bay each tidal cycle!) — you get used to seeing the local river speeding up, slowing down, stopping, and changing directions.   You usually have an intrinsic sense of how close the moon is to one of its two extremes (new moon or full moon) based on the height of the two tidal extremes, and your inner compass points to the sea.

Life along the Bay teaches you that everything is in a state of change; nothing remains exactly the same.  Treasures disappear, and new ones appear in their place.  If you need to centre yourself, a deep breath of salty air will refresh you, and the exhalation will take away the stress.  And if you aren’t paying enough attention, you’re likely to get your feet wet.

Most of all, the incessant pulse of the sea reminds you that there are things that can always be counted on: the water will return, covering the seaweed and the sea creatures that rely on it.  None of the worries we humans carry with us can stop the surge of the sea.

Nothing — the highs or the lows — lasts.  And those automatic glances out the car window as I drive high above the water remind and reassure me of just that.

This post was created as part of Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Challenge

You can view other writers’ contributions via the comments here.

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Karen J. McLean

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  • I love this, Karen! I must visit your area someday. I felt as if I were there with you watching the changing water, sensing the moon, and simply knowing and understanding. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing. Your words are like a momentary getaway for this landlocked person.

  • I love this post Karen. Yesterday when you said you didn’t know what you were going to write for a slice I knew you would write something great. This slice really captures who you are and what is important to you. It is so interesting to me, and not surprising at all, how much we identify with land we live on. I was born on an island and spent my early years there. The beach was important to me growing up. I haven’t been to the beach in a very long time. I need to go, soon!

  • The cycles of life and nature are things I sometimes take for granted, but when I stop and think about them, I’m always fascinated. This was a nice piece to read — thank you for it!