Going Up and Going Down

Living the rhythm of the lunar tides has many ups and downs. Twice a day you’re up on a high and twice a day you’re way down low. The tidal range up here on the Mahurangi River is just shy of 3.5 meters at the spring and neap tides, when the gravitational pull from the sun and the moon are working together by either being in conjunction or in opposition. It goes down to about a meter and a half during the days of the quarter moons. A constantly varying ebb and flow is keeping you on your toes. Every day the show happens fifty minutes later and the highest and lowest tides lag about four days behind the wide-eyed nights of the full and new moon. It’s a great cosmic seesaw, a planetary lullaby; Mother Earth’s bosom rising and falling with every breath she takes.

On the upside your view expands. You can see far across the land. The ducks graze along the riverbanks where the rising waters chase all kinds of critters fleeing the flood. Their busy beaks wiggle into the grass and their frolicking laughter echoes over vast stretches of water, which can be easily crossed on a canoe or other type of craft.

On the downside on the other hand you’re contemplating a chocolate brown mudscape with long yellow-legged egrets gingerly stepping over coated debris, spearing nourishment from the muck with lightning fast flicks of the curved neck propelling the pointed beak towards soft targets within reach. Scratching sounds from down in the bilges remind you that it’s time to sit still for a while. One of your hulls might even lift more than the other and give your whole living space a tilt for some time.

None of these nuisances though are too much of a burden since they are timed and their reach is short. Constant change keeps boredom abreast. Gentle sine curves make straight lines look ridiculous and obviously monotonous. And if you hold on too tight you run the risk of drowning while gasping for air with the incoming tide swiftly rolling up your neck, your chin, your cheek and finally covering peacefully your frowning forehead. Then once the waters recede your blue, bruised and bloated body is ready to rot under the sun, to be picked apart by a flock of shrieking seagulls and to be embraced by a senseless sum of slimy and slithery maggots. I’m not trying to scare you here in any way or shape. All I’m saying is that it does make good and common sense to go with the flow of the tides instead of stiffly standing still!

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