15 January 2013 Reflections
I was up before dawn in my “Monday-Saturday” routine (retirees get six Saturdays and a Sunday you know). My editor in chief wanted a story on tides. In these latitudes we have a diurnal cycle like most of the eastern seaboard. Two highs and lows occur each day. I peered outside in the predawn light. It was past low tide and trickles of water from an incoming flow were just beginning to fill the paths and finger-ways meandering thru the marsh. Old Man River was feeding in the thin muddy stream in front of my dock. He was an early riser and not wanting to disturb him, I headed for the coffee pot instead. Took care of my editor in chief and got her off to work then headed for the dock. I gave thanks for the day and began to carefully observe the incoming tide.
The rolling cirrus overhead looked like the sand waves on a beach. The tide began to cover the muddy flats and small streams began to broaden out, filling the marsh with its influx of life. A school of minnows could be seen from their ripples as they swam into a small tributary seeking shelter among the grasses. As the water levels slowly began to rise, so came the larger fish. Soon tell tale swirls of their fins appeared. Circles of life reflected on the surface in peaceful waves. It looks serene on the surface but we know beneath these small waves life really happens. It is eat or be eaten for many each day (kind of like work huh? But I’m retired now :) ). I began to focus and listen for the little things. The chit of a myrtle warbler behind me in the tree caught my ear. The morning song of the red-winged blackbird filled the air as he auditioned while perched on top of a bald cypress tree that we had planted. A wood stork was on the crumbling pier where Old Man River often stands. It was soon joined by a small snowy egret. Both gleamed white in the morning sun. It looked like an angel gliding by as a great egret joined them and landed by the little snowy. It put its wings out as if to whisper something to his little friend. Soon the morning doves began to marshal in the tree tops. I call then the innocents. In the far trees a large dark shape also appeared and a crow began to caw. Although I couldn’t identify the bird, it remained in the trees, watching. Two pied-billed grebes landed at the head of the tributary and slowly swam towards me as they began their morning feed. These birds dive and swim for tens of feet submerged often stirring up fish that the egrets and herons then pounce on. Where you see a grebe, the others will soon follow.
Life is like the tides sometimes. We wake up in a muddy bog and wander about to begin the day. Soon the light begins to shine. We stir. The incoming tide brings its living water and nourishment for the day and we go about our business. In nature, as in life, there are always things lurking behind somewhere. But it does not stop the innocent from doing the things we do. Each day our needs come in with the tide. The ebb tide then cleanses and washes away those things we don’t really need or left behind. The southerly breeze began to lift the blind and I knew it was a sign to go. Be blessed today. Harry