Thursday, July 10, 2008

Call me Neptuna

If you love the ocean, don't move to North Georgia. The sound of soothing waves become dim and retreat only to the farthest reaches of your mind. Thankfully, I have many memories to revisit when I feel the ocean's pull here in forested, hilly, dry Northeast Georgia.

Growing up in East Greenwich RI, my family joined the Greenwich Club, a private swim club open to all. We'd pile in the car, drive the 3 miles, and once the car was parked, leap out, and run barefoot over the gravel stones to the entry hut. The wait to check in seemed like forever, but then I'd run down the concrete apron and jump in the kiddie pool. To a kid, this was pure joy. We would just swim and swim all day. Here I am at age 6. Does it look like I am in heaven, or what?

My grandparents lived in Providence, but they'd bought a small cottage on Charlotte Drive in Warwick RI, right on Greenwich Bay. Oh, summers at Nonnie's were great, for a kid. The big Sunday Supper, many adults hanging around, and the BAY!! Swim, run off dock, swim, snorkel, pick stones and shells, and best of all, at night when we fell asleep all snuggly and tired from playing, the last sound I'd hear would be the tiny flip-flip of the wavelets on the shore. The first sound I'd hear in the morning was the same. How lucky, the ocean right out my window.

As an adult in my thirties, I sailed the ocean blue. An explorer like Columbus, I lived aboard a trusty sailing ship. Aboard a Tayana 37 with my then-husband, we departed from Yarmouth Maine and took a year to make way to the Bahamas and back. We lived aboard for two years total, and saw many waters as we went up and down the eastern seaboard.

Different water has different moods, and we encountered them all. The placid Chesapeake could churn into an angry roil in an instant. The Dismal Swamp was serene and mysterious, and the blue waters of Lake Worth with the millionaire's mansions very beautiful. Here I am at first light, after an overnight passage from Charleston SC to Lake Worth FL. Clutching my hot coffee!
As an older adult, I vacationed quite a bit between Machias and Lubec Maine, the far eastern portion of the part of Maine that borders the ocean. In that neck of the woods the waters are cold, gray, forbidding and beautiful also, in a steely way. In Lubec, which abuts New Brunswick Canada, the waters are the renowned Bay of Fundy.

"The Bay of Fundy is one of the world's greatest natural phenomena situated on the right shoulder of the North American continent. The 173 mile long arm of the Atlantic Ocean is wedged between the Maritime Provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and is accessed through the Gulf of Maine. The Bay features a narrowing width 74 miles between Yarmouth, N.S. and Cutler, Maine, to 27 miles at Cape Chignecto (Thurston, 1998). The diminishing width gives the Fundy a "funnel" shape, and has a remarkable amplifying effect on the tidal patterns." Above, Cutler Maine, where tides rise and fall 20-30 feet.

The pool, the bay, the ocean are all far away from me now, but I do have a lovely pond in which to watch for the resident heron. And I do love the rolling hills and the trees, which house riotous birds, calling out the dawn's daybreak to my delighted ears. But the ocean is the ocean, there's nothing like its power, draw, and beauty. Fortunately, I've experienced much of it and can retreat in my mind to where the splashing of waves can instantly appear.

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