Six teen-aged campers and their two leaders awoke in the summer night to water rising around them. They had inadvertently set camp on a tidal flat, at low tide. They had gone to sleep in northern Ontario. Now they were, apparently, in James Bay, which is at the bottom of Hudson Bay, which is part of the Arctic Ocean. In the pitch dark, they scrambled to find their canoes, their food, each other. Most everything had floated away, but they found one canoe. They stood around it in the Arctic Ocean, now waist high. They didn’t know if it would get higher. They didn’t know which direction would lead them to land. Too dark out.They stood around the canoe, holding on to it, waiting for light, waiting for the water to recede. Or get deeper.
They were lucky: the water didn’t get deeper. They were lucky: they found all of the canoes the next day. And no one got hurt, or hypothermic. They didn’t find the wanigan that held their food, but they were at the end of their ten-day trip. So they were lucky about that, too. Michael told the story second-hand — he wasn’t on that trip.
“But didn’t that same thing happen on a trip you were on?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said. It occurred to me that some education in the matter of identifying tidal areas would not go amiss.
Tom, a sailor, had stories of dropping anchor and waking up, to the sound of pots and pans crashing down because the tide had receded and left the boat on a sand bar, tipped over.
Lynne (not me, another one) had a friend who had driven out onto a sand bar off the coast of Maine. It was between the mainland and a nearby island. Lots of people drove to the island when the tide was low. Her friend, though, stopped on the sand bar. He had some things to think about. He fell asleep. When he awoke, he was surrounded by water. The car wouldn’t start. He made it back to land on foot, wading. When the tide lowered again, he was able to start the car and drive it back. But it was never quite the same.
“I don’t have any tide stories,” I said. Michael said it wasn’t too late. Anne didn’t tell any tide stories either, but I think she has some. She’s married to Tom.
Bill hadn’t been able to make it to the dinner where this conversation took place. I told him about it, and how I didn’t have any tide stories.
“There are two main types,” I said. “The water goes up, or the water goes down. Falling asleep before it goes up or down also seems to be a key ingredient.”
He thought about this for a minute.
“You put my underwear in the wash with your red pants,” he said. “That’s kind of a Tide story.”
Happy World Art Drop Day! This original art from p. 218 of my book “Nuts to You” is yours, if you can find it. It’s on a bulletin board in Suttons Bay, Michigan, in a public (and pretty appropriate — bookwise and squirrelwise) location. #artdropday2015
For more info on Art Drop Day, go here: http://mrjakeparker.com/art-drop-day .
The shiny black-brown beetle was as big as a bird, and it flew after her. It made a loud buzzing noise, but it was not a bee. And it made a clicking noise. A fast, clicky, clicking noise. She ran to the cottage and grabbed the handle of the screen door and pulled, but it would not open. Was it locked? She pushed in the button and yanked. The rickety door held fast. She yelped for her mother. She yelled for her dad.
Where in the world was everyone?
Maybe you have had a bad dream, too. Did you write it down? Did you draw it? It’s kinda fun to do.
I don’t travel very often, though I have been to some pretty interesting places. I’m leaving in less than an hour to go to Iceland for a week, with my daughter. She found a cheap flight and invited me to come along — who wouldn’t? While thinking about trips, I thought about a trip my family took to the seashore, when I was young. Sometimes the wind would blow in scores of jellyfish.
“How beautiful they are,” we said. “How lovely their purple translucence, floating in the lacy green sea!”
Except that we didn’t say that. We didn’t say that at all. I can say it now, though, when I’m painting them.
Here is a picture of me with Hazel, my writing coach. She likes to remind me that Nietzche wrote, “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” To which she adds, “So let’s get going.”
I just finished working on a picture book. Here is what one of my bulletin boards looked like while I was working on it:
One day while I was working on a table nearby, I looked over and Hazel was collaborating on one of the watercolors near the bottom by licking the paint (it’s watercolor. Water soluble.) from the middle of it. I was able to restore it, but that’s why there is a pile of stuff stacked in front of the paintings — to keep Hazel away. Here is what the bulletin board looks like now that I’ve sent the paintings away:
It gives me mixed feelings. It feels good to have brought this book to fruition. I will miss all those paintings. And at the same time, I’m excited by some new ideas that are floating into my head, and also itchy to play with some that have been simmering on the back burner.
Relatively soon, I’ll post more about the new picture book. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the feeling of possibilities.
I wanted to post this on the first day of spring, but it has been so unusually sunny here for this time of year. Today, however, today . . .