Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What the tide revealed

Tides come. Tides go. In and out. Ebb and flow. On some beaches, low tide means easier walking on flat sand. On others, rocky pools are revealed. And there is the wonder.

I found these starfish--three different colors together--on the far-end of a jetty I've never seen out of water.

I didn't even care that a little girl, as excited as I was, splashed me thoroughly as she raced by. All I cared about was the revelation at my feet and that the camera phone was dry and working.

I've been taking walks along Venice Beach for decades and never seen the tide pull back like it did this last weekend. A huge swath of the pier was out of water, the damp sand displaying patterns while sanderlings scurried back-and-forth, searching for food revealed by the receding water.

I felt like I was peeking behind the Wizard's curtain, glimpsing the secrets of the intertidal zone, spying on its shy inhabitants.

All these years of digging my toes in wet sand, swimming in surf and climbing out on the jetty rocks, and I'd never seen these creatures here although this is where they've always lived.


Fat starfish cling to barnacle-covered jetty rocks.
Another gets a ghostly dusting when a rough wave stirred up the sandy bottom.



Carpets of anemones wave their tiny arms just below the shallow water. Those uncovered by the tide, close up like tight fists and wait for water to return.



Goose barnacles--don't they deserve that name?

The pier pilings were encrusted with shelled creatures and starfish.


I found a world of wonder in a place I thought I knew.

Perhaps that would be a good writing or photography exercise--to roam a place we consider mundane because we've seen it so much and look closely for what we may be missing. Turn over a few rocks and see what's there.

I've thought about this when traveling to other countries. What is ordinary to the inhabitants, whether it's their architecture, landscape or animals, is exotic to me and, thus more vibrant, more exciting.

But, really, it is every inch of our planet that holds wonder.


Shannon Messenger said...

Wow, I can't decide which was more beautiful--your post, or the pictures. I guess I'll call it a tie! Thanks for sharing!

Paul Greci said...

Great photos, Tricia! I love tide pools, especially those extremely low tides where you get a glimpse into other worlds. Thanks!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Wow. I suddenly feel the need to plan a vacation near the ocean! :-)

MG Higgins said...

What a beautiful revelation! I lived in that area and never saw any of the creatures you photographed, which made me think they didn't exist. But of course, they were simply hidden from view. Love all the photos, but the goose barnacles especially--so graphic.

Unknown said...

I always love it when you post your photos. These are great! So mystical. Makes me wish I had a better camera.

Bish Denham said...

You are absolutely right about every inch of our planet holding wonder. Beautiful photos!

(You know many, many moons ago I went to a school in Venice and spent what time I could walking the beach.)

Donna said...

Too true, Tricia. Let's take a closer look all around us. Lovely oceanic photos.

Angie said...

What wonderful pictures, and an awesome discovery. I think I will try taking a closer look at my own surroundings today.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

@Shannon: I'm all smiles at that comment. Thank you!

@Paul: I love to explore tide pools, too. Usually, I'm aware of their location, but this one came as a real surprise.

@ShannonO: Thanks for the wows. I'm happy to spread the fun.

@MG: Hi, Mel! Hope you're doing fine. I didn't know you'd lived near Venice. And, yes, I didn't realize the creatures were there, either, even though they should be. The goose barnacles are fascinating in structure. Love them.

@Elle: Thank you! I do feel something mystical about nature. It can continually astound me.

@Bish: You went to school in Venice??? Wow. I had no idea. I've got family there and lived there myself many moons ago. It's a place I am often.

@Donna: Thank you. I'm so happy every one is enjoying these.

@Angie: Yay! I hope you find wonders, too.

Char said...

gorgeous shots

Sarah Laurence said...

Wow! These are fabulous photos. I’ve been thinking about tides too, like the waves washed from your blog to mine today.

Just Wendy said...

Gorgeous pics!

It appears you and I have the same love for the ocean.

Jemi Fraser said...

So incredibly lovely!! We've been discussed how tides work in class - I'm going to share your photos tomorrow! They're beautiful :)

Yvonne Osborne said...

Very nice, Tricia. I love Venice Beach, that amazing stretch of sand, the little shops and crazy performers and eclectic artists. And of course, it's the birthplace of The Doors. You're right about familiarity breeding indifference. We need to look at the exotic outside our own window, turn over a few rocks. Thanks for the reminder.

Jackee said...

"every inch of our planet that holds wonder."

How I adore those words! Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures and words, friend.

~ Jackee

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

@Char: thanks!

@SarahL: I must hurry over to check your tides! Thanks for stopping by. ;)

@WendyQ: I'm mad about the ocean. Glad to know we're sea sisters.;)

@Jemi: Oh! I'm excited to know you're going to share the pictures with the students. Yay! :D

@Yvonne: It is an unusual beach, for sure. I've known it from its gritty days to its more gentrified ones. So I thought I knew it inside-out and this surprised me!

@Jackee: It's how I feel, and I know it's how you feel, too. I'm so happy I can share these moments with people who appreciate them.

Rebecca Gomez said...

Beautiful photos. Reminds me of going to the beach in San Diego this summer. It was such a treat to see all those little sea creatures!

I like your idea of a photography/writing exercise.

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

It would be a great excercise, but I don't see anything mundane in this place. So beautiful. You are so blessed to live where you do. And your photos are amazing. Camera phone, you said???

Talli Roland said...

Beautiful photos and words. Thank you!

Unknown said...

Tricia - Such great pics and post!

We have a large saltwater tank at home with two starfish (The General & Chocolate Chip). The are the most fantastic creatures. They can move fast when they want too.

It's amazing the wonder of this beautiful planet. I agree.

Gorgeous, Tricia!!! Thank you for sharing. =D

Unknown said...

I wish you lived close by so we could walk the beaches together and peek behind curtains all day. :)

Beautiful as always. Especially for an ocean lover like myself.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

@Rebecca: Hi and thank you!

@Carol: Yes, my phone has an amazing camera. I never would have guessed I'd get such good quality. I know the basics of composition and good lighting but the camera really has great tone and clarity. It makes it so easy to stick in my pocket and take pictures anywhere I wander. :)

@RaShelle: I love the names of your starfish! I am constantly amazed by the beauty and uniqueness of the many species of life we got around us.

@Karen: I wish so, too!!! We might get lured into other wonder worlds. ;)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

@Talli: Hi! *waves* almost missed you. Thanks. said...

These are all incredibly good photos! I love star fish and you've found the most beautiful I've ever seen. Thank you for sharing them with us.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

@MaryAnne: Aw, thank you! I thought those starfish were gorgeous, too.

Angela Ackerman said...

Wow! I'm so glad you took advantage of this unique opportunity and snapped some shots for us! It's a treat for those of us without an ocean nearby, thank you!

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

@Angela: I just ran across another picture of that jetty taken as it usually is, and, wow, all that is underwater 99 percent of the time. I'm glad I captured it, too. :)

The Words Crafter said...

OOOOhhhh, I love these pictures! And your writing perfectly matched them in loveliness. You're so right; when I visit a city, even one not too far from where I live, it's exotic to me and I catch myself wondering what it must be like to live there....loved this post!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

@WordsCrafter: Thank you. :D