The Cove Journal
by JoDee Samuelson
The sea roared all night, the rain pounded down, and in the morning the shore was strewn with broken crab bodies, flecks of foam, stranded jellyfish, and seaweed tips of brown algae fucus serratus. A cormorant lay dead in the sand, its fluorescent orange hooked upper mandible (beak) clamped perfectly closed over its bottom mandible, its sand-filled eyes staring blankly into space. A beautiful creature. You rarely find deceased birds before the crows and gulls get at them, so we get the idea that they are invincible; but no, birds run into trouble just like the rest of us.
The ridges carved onto the sand by the retreating tide were sharp and unfriendly underfoot and we humans exclaimed, “Now that was a proper storm!” The barnacles yawned and said, “What’s all the fuss?”
In the middle of the “moderate gale” (30 knots or 55 km/hr) the last blossoms blew off our chestnut tree and every single pink and white petal headed straight for the roof of the house. When water started sloshing over the edge of the eaves, remedial action was required to clear the downspouts of those otherwise gorgeous chestnut blossoms, which involved ladders, screwdrivers, bent coat hangers and a certain amount of cursing.
Even after the wind died down the waves could not relax and the rumble of the sea lasted into the afternoon. Finally, silence descended on the Cove. Exhausted flags fell limply, birds and insects came out of hiding, and folks fired up the barbeque; but after an hour a breeze came up from another direction, for the air and sea are never still.
At dusk we went down for a swim. There is no rip tide in the Cove, but all the same, after a storm you can feel the water at the bottom being pulled out to sea and you don’t want to swim out over your head. You merely want to jump into the unruly red-tinted waves and have them knock you back.
In the morning we went back to the shore. Three boys were standing in a tidal pool catching flatfish and they told us how to do it: Find a pool where there are lots of flatfish—you will know this if you walk in the water and feel something go “swish” under your feet; try to see where the fish came from by the cloud of sand its “swish” left; then stand in that spot with your feet close together and wait—for apparently a flatfish will return to its own special spot in the sand, and if your feet are the right distance apart and are on the exact spot, the fish will swim back between your feet and you can reach down and nab it. Sound unlikely? In cupped hands one young lad proudly showed us his catch: a little brown flatfish with eyes on top.
Sunny day, stormy day, tide in, tide out, the shore remains a place of mystery and delight.
We heard the sea again last night and wonder what this day holds.
—This is JoDee Samuelson’s 93rd column for The Buzz. Two of her animated films, Mabel’s Saga and A Brief History of Charlottetown are being shown at Projections on the Plaza in August.