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.
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.
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.