A Girl of the Rugged Coast: Riptide

A Girl of the Rugged Coast: Riptide

If vacation advertising is to be believed, most people think of beaches as long white sandy strips full of sunbathers and volleyball. I think of jagged rocks, stiff salty wind, whales, and shore birds. More often than not, you need a light jacket to visit our beaches and a sense of wonder. To me, a long strip of sandy beach sounds boring. I don’t want to lay on a towel and take in the sun. I need to explore. Our rugged coasts are less of a leisure pursuit and more of an adventure. Come hardy explorers to perch among the rocks. What has the tide brought us? What lurks under the driftwood and in the tidepools?

For many years I went to the coast with my father’s family. It was back during a time when a kid could rise, eat breakfast, and disappear for hours until hunger brought you back. Being back before dinner was the only real requirement. The wild child must be present and presentable for dinner at the nice restaurant. A skirt must be worn for women and girls and a tie and jacket for the boys and men. This rule was in place well into the mid-1990’s.

On a particularly nice day when I was 15 or 16, I was enjoying a bit of “bodysurfing”, but on this occasion the undercurrent was stronger than usual. The sand beneath my feet evaporated. I only got one quick gasp of air before being pulled under and out. I kicked as hard as I could propelling myself in the direction I thought was up. It was only a guess. I kicked and kicked, my lungs burning, begging for air when finally, I broke the surface. The shoreline was so small, the people were the size of ants and no one seemed to notice me out there. I panicked. It’s one of the few times where I thought I might actually die.

There are signs posted near the resorts about what to do if you get pulled into a riptide. I had studied them often out of kid bored, waiting for my dad to check us in or out of a place, pay at a restaurant or while getting gas. I never thought I would have to follow the step in a live scenario. Step 1: “Don’t panic.” Well, too late for that! I did my best to put the emotion aside and focused on step two. Step 2: “Swim at an angle towards the shore.” Mental visualization of the diagram, showing a stick figure swimming parallel or at a slight angle from the shore. I was at least a mile from shore, possibly two. I dare not think it could have been farther.

It took at least two hours of breaststroke and back swimming. I tried to drift in like flotsam at times. When I finally made it shore, I arrived with no fanfare. No one had noticed. I was exhausted. I headed up to the rental and walked in the door. “You’re late!” My dad boomed. “Sorry, I got caught in a riptide.” I grumbled. “Well, get changed! We have to leave for dinner right now!” So, I changed and off to dinner we went. I’ll never know if he didn’t hear me right, didn’t believe me or didn’t understand the implications of what I’d just said.

More to Explore:

Science of Riptides: Rip Current Science (weather.gov) It’s interesting because this and other sites I found say “Riptides don’t pull you under.” I beg to differ. I was definitely pulled under. I suspect it has something to do with the firmness of the sand.

(Pictures: Cape Disappointment, OR. Melanie Reynolds, 2007)

Mind Travel: Back to Africa

Visit Jane Lurie’s photography page for some beautiful animal portraits. You can find more under her “Travel” tab.

Mind Travel: Back to Africa – Jane Lurie Photography (wordpress.com)

My favorite is the Lioness. Which one will yours be?

(Please excuse the technical difficulties here. I’m still trying to figure out how to share from other sites. I don’t know why some offer an image and some don’t. Or if other people struggle to get their “Reblog” button to work as much as I do. – Melanie)

To be a Black Forager

Pleas enjoy this repost from Black Foragers Facebook page. I’m sorry I don’t know how to resize the video player.

This morning, a long time follower of my TikTok unfollowed me, because I posted a video detailing why being a black forager is important to me. Why calling out my race is necessary to me when talking about my relationship with the land and with my food. What a disappointing way to start my morning. I’ve heard countless stories of run ins with the police over foraged finds. Some from white folks. Most from POC. And after the year we all just lived through, it makes my heart and my head heavy to see people who honestly believe that one’s race doesn’t affect the way we move through this world. There truly is something revolutionary about being black, and meeting the earth where she is, and making a trade. For too long this knowledge has been forgotten, and for too long, first out of fear of violence, and then out of cultural routine, black faces have shied away from the great wide outdoors. A space that truly belongs to us all, just as we belong to it. But just because being a black forager is revolutionary doesn’t mean being just being a forager ISN’T revolutionary. Anyway, I’m a little sad, in the way any teacher would be sad when a student you think needs a lesson the most choses to not engage with it. But the 98% of the comments on the first video were loving, vulnerable, and thoughtful so I’m switching gear to focus on those. Idk, maybe I need to just not focus on my phone 😅Anyway, thanks for reading. I really do you love, you wonderful human, you. BUT IF YOU DIDN’T READ THIS FAR, HOW WILL YOU KNOOOOOOOOOOW? 😂❤️PS – Are you following @thecookinggene or @countrygentlemancooks on IG yet? If this kind of history is your jam, they will be too 🌱PPS – it’s literally never a bad time to thank indigenous peoples for generously teaching our ancestors how to survive here! Thank you! Miigwetch! PPPS – yes that’s me playing the autoharp poorly in the background 😅