Skip to main content

Tidal pool memoriam

Wednesday was a good day...once I got through my meltdown over the turtle walk being full. Don't ask; I'm hoping that memory melts away. Let's just say, sometimes while trying to keep your father, your son, and your husband all happy at the same time, your own happiness gets sacrificed. (But I'm preaching to the choir, I'm sure!)

Around mid-afternoon, I hiked down to our family's little tidal pool spot, near Blackwoods Campground and across from Otter Point, with my brother and my dad. It's a place that my family has been visiting since my mother and her brothers were children, and although we have many happy memories there, we also have some sad ones, too. This is the place we scattered my mother's ashes 11 years ago, so it's a bittersweet sojourn that we make every time we're here in Acadia. We don't have a headstone to visit, which is the way my mom wanted it to be, so this is the next best thing, I suppose. Honestly, my brother and I didn't really want to go down yesterday -- we're both of the "let the past be in the past" mindset -- but it means a lot to my father and we didn't want him to climb down those rocks alone, so we went. And I'm glad we did.

The climb down is more treacherous than I remember, perhaps because my legs are longer, my knees are weaker, and my balance is wobblier, but Mother Nature is also trying to reclaim this little patch of beauty. Rightfully so. I'm happy to let her have it back, not because I don't love it, but because I remember how fiercely my mother loved this spot. I don't want anyone else to know it the way we do.

When we were kids we camped here in Blackwoods, and would go down to the tidal pool and spend hours scrambling barefoot on the rocks, playing with plastic boats in the tidal pool, watching the lobster boats pull in their traps. We ate peanut butter sandwiches and lounged in the sun. It was secluded and secret and just risky enough to fulfill our need for adventure. And the tidal pool rests about five feet from the North Atlantic, so when it often felt like we were about an arm's length from God.

I always took a book to read and my notebook to write (I recall a few really bad poems about seagulls); my brother would climb and explore and wander far from us, humming all the while so my mom always knew where he was; my sister would collect periwinkles and hunt for starfish. We were always barefoot and sunburned, and I have a distinct memory of peeing behind a rock ledge -- communing with nature, as my dad called it. This was the Mello Tidal Pool, claimed and staked and forever. One time when we were down there, another couple ambled out of the woods and started to make their way down the rocks, and my mother said in a voice just loud enough to be clear, "I hope they don't think they're coming down to our spot." They didn't stay.

So now the path is mostly covered in underbrush (poison ivy!) and trees, and even the poplar that we marked 11 years ago to show us the spot to head down the cliff has been taken over by pines. When we got down there to the top of the ledge, after scraping our way through the brambles, I told my dad that this is probably the last time I'll go there, and he said in his typical melancholy way, "yeah, maybe it's time to let go." But I don't think it's letting go. We can cling to those good memories forever; why keep going down there to remember, when it's so loaded with both happy and sad?

Regardless, while we sat and watched the lobster buoys bob on the surf yesterday, the lone kayaker paddle around in the cove, and the gulls circle the rocky shoreline, I heard a faint echo of children's laughter. It's a good spot, our tidal pool, and maybe someday I'll bring Sweet Boy here, too. But if we can no longer traverse the path, that's ok, too. I can tell him about it as we climb over rocks to find a new family spot.

The sun finally came out just before we headed back up the rocks, and I said hello and goodbye.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Grace happens

Today Honey's roommate in room 364 at Maine Medical Center was discharged. Some other day I'll tell you about why Honey is in the hospital again, but this story is about the roommate because it's way more interesting. Let's call him Elton, because all I really know about him is he plays guitar in an Elton John tribute band and he's originally from the very northern part of England, bordering Scotland. (Or as Honey described it, "that place in England where the Roman Empire decided, nope, those Celts are crazy, and put up a wall.")

Elton was in room 364 before Honey arrived, and what struck me immediately, besides his delightful accent and soothing Liam-Neeson-esque voice, was his gentle, good-natured manner. He was going through heck from a botched surgery and compartment syndrome - pain and gore and fear of losing the use of his dominant hand - yet he spoke kindly and softly to every person who came into his room. Every time a nurse walked in, Elton gree…

Boardwalk ghosts

“Imagine this, buddy, in the middle of summer, especially near the Fourth of July. Wall to wall people, just sort of moving in and out of each other. Flashing lights. Loud music. Screams from Morey’s Pier, laughter on the swirly rides. Oh...and the food...ice cream, funnel cake, fudge, cheese steaks, pizza, fries...the smells alone would drive you nuts!” 
It’s 5:00 on the evening before his Nana’s funeral, and we’re standing in a windy drizzle on an empty Wildwood boardwalk. My mind has flashed back to the summer of 1991, when I spent a week here with my best friend. Wicked sunburn. Tandem bike adventures. Water slides. Thrill rides. A ground-shaking thunderstorm. Friendship bracelets. College guys taking showers outside. Ice cream and VCR movies every night.

Back in the here-and-now I’m trying to explain to Zippy what this place is like when it’s not October. He’s been to Rehoboth and Ocean City and Old Orchard Beach, but none of those come anywhere close to Wildwood in peak season.…

#WhyIMarch

Zippy and I hiked in the woods the other day, following the icy trails around Evergreen Cemetery. The cold air stung our eyes but the sun shone warm and bright, and it felt great to breathe fresh air. As he skipped and hopped and twirled beside, in front, and around me, I felt peaceful, happy, content. Until I realized the Womens' March is in a few days, I am going, and I don't know what to expect. I've never done anything like this, except for a few years ago at Occupy Philly, which was nothing compared to the numbers they're anticipating this weekend. The Women's March will be a peaceful protest, yes, but 200,000 is an awful lot of people in highly charged city during turbulent times. I felt anxiety creeping into my chest.

"So you know I'm going away this weekend, right? To Washington, D.C. For just two sleeps. Do you know why I'm going?" I asked Zippy.
"Because you don't like Donald Trump and he's going to be the President."
&…