The tide is low at noon so we pack a lunch (cheese and crackers, beer and chocolate), slather ourselves with sunscreen and head down to the Cove. We plan to walk along the shore to a picnic rock a few kilometers away, but oops!—forgot to check the tide chart. A low tide can be very very low or just sort of low. (Check website tide-forecast.com for your own tides.) Today it’s low-ish. The sandbars are underwater and we will either have to wade up to our hips through a sharp mussel bed or we can eat on this side of the point. Easy call: it’s a hot day and our ice is melting.
It’s surprising the difference a half-metre of water makes. Things get covered that were otherwise bare. When the PEI Climate Report comes out in September we will learn how high the tides will rise in the future and how our lives will change. Humans have more to lose (houses, bridges, farmland) than, say, periwinkles who are fond of both water and air and will just keep crawling ahead on rocks and sand, pretty much minding their own business.
That being said, we are all living life to the fullest and packing everything into these last luscious summer hours. On fine days, and there have been many, families leave care behind them in town and head to beaches where their eager progeny become wild creatures for a day. In the evening children are rounded up: “Morrison, it’s time to go. Morrison, we’re leaving!” Morrison (big name for such a tiny person) is not ready to leave but doesn’t make a fuss when his father picks him up and says, “We’ll stop for ice cream.” “Can I have sprinkles on top?” asks Morrison, his head resting on Papa’s shoulder. His sun-baked papa nods.
While beachgoers relax, there are plenty of country folk who are hard at work. Farmers, their tall beautiful combines all greased and ready to go, proudly descend on golden fields and fill the hoppers with fat wholesome grain. Sun-burnt gardeners re-stock roadside stands with zucchini, yellow beans, beets, and earth-flavored potatoes. Wine producers keep an eye on the blush of their ripening grapes and hazelnut growers remain vigilant against raccoons, squirrels and blue jays. At our local take-out, Ellen and young assistants Liam and Bella serve up delicious home-cut fries, burgers and milkshakes. And I suppose there are plenty of athletes out there in the hot sun training for the next Olympics. By the way, did anyone besides me wonder why the women’s beach volleyball team wears such skimpy apparel? Or why there is still such a thing as a women’s artistic swim team?
So much going on… the Perseids, Gold Cup and Saucer races, friends-from-away not seen in two years… I’m already getting that feeling that hits me after summer visitors leave, like, what just happened?
It’s evening and the tide is high. Time to forget about everything and go down the Cove for a swim.