I like to go paddling on the bay early in the morning. The water is calm and the air is cool. But no matter how early I get up and slide my kayak into the water, the birds are already active and loud, and well into their day. The water seems to glide past my kayak as if I am standing still. My focus and relaxation let the problems of the world melt away to be replaced by nature. I only have to paddle for a few minutes to go from a bustling resort to a place, pristine and ancient, alive with so many creatures and habitats that every time I visit, something new is revealed.
At low tide I can see the bottom covered in mussels with orange starfish, and mud banks with brightly colored seaweed and periwinkle snails. The most abundant life is where the water meets the marsh edge. As Rachel Carson said “the edge of the sea is a strange and wonderful place.” And it certainly is. Life in this area is adapted to being dry at low tide and flooded when the water is high. I ghost along through the small creeks, welcomed by the wildlife as if one of them. The young chicks watch as I approach and then retreat under their parent’s wing. I am grateful that they let me share their world.
As the day heats up and the birds take a break from early morning socializing, I return from another world, a world so close, but foreign to many people.
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