Why I Love the Tide Line

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Why the tide line? Isn’t the ocean itself distracting, compelling? The reasons why I started to notice and ultimately become captivated by the tide line on beaches wherever I travel, are many. Below are just a new of them.

– It changes constantly. Very, very often when I pause to frame a photo, the tide will come in and change want I am getting ready to photograph. Sometimes the change works with me, but more often the tide takes away what I was readying. In every case, though, I am presented with another surprise. The variety and arrangement is endless.

– A tide line offers both large and tiny wonders. From the so-small sand crab carapace visible here, to some of the larger flotsam and jetsam that washes up after a major storm, the variety of items is astonishing.

– The marine geography of the area can be visible with the tide. If I am on a barrier island the variety of mollusk is quite different than if I am on a mainland beach. The back bays are nurseries for marine life, and the ocean floor spawns a very different variety of organisms.

– Perhaps most importantly, though, focusing on the tideline teaches me to look closely. Yes, I could sit and look out at the sea for hours, but looking closely at what the sea presents to me at my feet is a different meditative practice.

Sometimes I need the big picture. At other times, though, I need to learn to look for and appreciate nuance in my life. The tide line provides me with that lens.

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