Grateful for the Tides
As a child I spent much of my time in the summer splashing about in the shallows of Flatt’s Inlet in my sub-tropical island home of Bermuda. On summer afternoons my parents would sit on the grass in the shade of swaying palm trees as my brother and I would seek sea critters in the tide-pools under the wooden pier. Through the inlet, which averages one hundred feet across and six hundred feet in length, fresh seawater from the open ocean of Bermuda’s North Shore ebbs and flows with the tides to and from Harrington Sound, an inland marine lake. Flanking the Inlet stand the storefronts and houses of the village, each painted a more vibrant color than the next. The village, coupled with the intense turquoise of the crystal clear water and the emerald green vegetation growing alongside, creates a Technicolor feast for the eyes.
I am grateful to still live nearby and often drive past. Sometimes I even stop to sit on the pier to watch the tides change. Each day at high tide the waters speed up to funnel through the bridge at the entrance of the Sound, and at low tide the waters funnel back out through the Inlet and towards the open sea. The currents can be so strong that rapids are created under the bridge and it can make for precarious swimming. When the winds and currents are working in harmony, however, the water moves in such unison that it appears as if a piece of glass is resting on top, allowing you to see the sandy bottom of the Inlet, and all of its curious inhabitants.
I find that there is something uniquely calming about watching the sea, particularly at the Inlet. Perhaps it is a primal urge to return to the mother of all life on our planet, to look to her for answers. Currently, I am at a static place in my life, the calm between the tides. The closing and opening of old and new chapters in life doesn’t happen as seamlessly as it does in novels, nor does change happen on a schedule like the tides. For years I have been sowing the seeds of change for my next chapter, and I am hoping the harvest comes soon. Needless to say the wait can be rather frustrating. Nevertheless, as I sit to watch the waters flowing in and out of the Inlet, it reminds me that even when the tides are at a standstill, or even working against you, it is never for too long. Even when struggling in the torrents of life I know that at some point, if I am patient, I will catch the current in the direction I wish to head.
Watching the changing of the tides also reminds me of the impermanence of life. Over time, decades, centuries, and millennia, this inlet will be eroded, the sea eating its way through the limestone that makes up the Island. As morbid a thought it is to understand what this means for my life, and the lives of those I love, it is recognizing this impermanence that implores me to appreciate and make the most of the borrowed time we have on this earth together.
I must remember that I am blessed beyond measure, as I am indeed guilty of taking my blessings for granted from time to time. We don’t appreciate the sun until it rains, our health until we are sick, serenity until there is chaos, and we don’t truly appreciate people until they are gone. So as I gaze upon the still waters I remind myself that in this idle phase of my life I have had the opportunity to spend time on my beautiful island home with my family and friends, and grow closer to them. And for that I will be forever grateful. For as long as I am able to I will return to the Inlet, and in the wind whistling through the palm frons, the smell of salt in the air, and the hum of boats puttering through will live the eternal summer of my childhood. For as long as this inert period of my life lasts I will remember to appreciate the calm knowing that tides will soon turn, and the torrents of past will be nothing more than water under the bridge.
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