Walk at low tide

The Cove Journal by JoDee Samuelson

Life is proceeding full-tilt in the Cove. We’re getting the old Schoolhouse ready for summer, we’re potting plants for the Perennial Sale, and exchanging recipes for the Rhubarb Social. 

It’s wonderful to be part of a community, but it does take time. Putting chores and duties aside for the moment, we head down to the Cove at low tide—it’s an extra low tide when it’s possible to walk around points that are usually under water—to see if any fossils or other interesting objects call out to us. Here’s a snapshot of what we see:

Eight blue herons fishing in a large tidal pool. Although we give them ample room they all fly off. They really don’t like humans! 

Four young women with two small ponies. Joyful barefoot splashing of girls, energetic snorting and rearing of ponies. I remark, “Those ponies could give a good tug and get loose if they cared to,” and moments later one of them does just that. The girls stop and wait: “She’ll come back.” She does, and her lead is easily grabbed. Such clever comely girls and such friendly ponies. 

What else do we see? Thousands of holes bored in wet sand by tiny beach worms. More barnacles than ever. Snails large and small scurrying about (“scurrying” is stretching things a bit) scouring the sand for tasty edibles. Beach fleas energetically leaping up and down.  

Also, an unidentified brown hawk with huge wingspan, four cliff swallows darting out of modest seaside dwellings, a bald eagle with a large fish in its mouth, and numerous seagulls and crows minding their own business. The beach yields no fossils today… but what’s this? A strange skull with bony ear-like projections and clusters of calcified round lumps? What the heck?

I pick it up—it’s super hard and bigger than my hand—and knock sand and periwinkles out of its cavities. It gives off no odour, having been picked clean-to-the-bone and thoroughly washed by the sea. “I guess we’ll take it home.” 

Whatever we say about Artificial Intelligence, we all use it and love it. Google offers me skulls of every description, but nothing matches what I see in front of me. It’s definitely not a fox, sheep, porpoise or shark. We guess that it’s a grey seal or harbour seal, but none of the seal photos show such prominent ear-like protrusions (where tendons attach?) nor the bulgy lumps in back. And where are the eyeholes? Perhaps this is merely part of a head, the nosepiece perhaps, that has broken apart from a larger structure. 

I finish my drawing, turn the skull over one more time and give it a little pat. Meanwhile, back to the realities of life. 

I’m digging up a bed of phlox, not an easy job; these perennials like where they are and don’t mind being root bound. “Don’t worry,” I tell them. “Someone nice will take you home at the Perennial Sale.” 

Birds, ponies and a strange skull. It’s been another good day in the Cove.

Born and raised on the Canadian prairies, filmmaker and artist JoDee Samuelson has lived on the beautiful south shore of Prince Edward Island for the past thirty years.JoDee always loved drawing and was encouraged in all her creative pursuits by her mother, who was a commercial artist before marrying a Swedish minister. JoDee’s interest in filmmaking began when she took part in an animation workshop at the Island Media Arts Co-op in 1989. Her animated films have been shown at festivals around the world, winning numerous awards for the Island filmmaker.