Monday, February 15, 2010

Walking the Wrack Line

We spent a bit of President's Day at the beach for the second year in a row. Last year to the day we discovered the beauty of the beach in winter for humans and dogs. Today half a dozen other people and their dogs strolled on the beach.

Today was a high, high tide, just a day past a new moon. We walked the wrack line on an incoming tide, stepping quickly out of the way as big waves broke hard against the shore pushing water higher up the beach. As the undertow pulled the water back into the sea in a great rush, "the wrack" -- small rafts of seaweed and other debris -- was left behind. The wrack line is a winding trail of detritus that marks the irregular pattern of tidal wave action at the high tide line. Each new wave brings more material, shifting, swirling and mixing the clumps left behind.

As the tide recedes, the wrack left behind becomes dry and brittle and a bit unsightly until the next high tide refreshes the beach. Walking the wrack line, on the incoming tide, as the waves wash over the detritus, is the best time to admire the beauty of the wrack. A fresh wave cleanses the colorful seaweeds and rounded pebbles, leaving them fresh and shiny.

Meanwhile, Aria played in the surf,
and walked the wrack line,

until Srini found a stick,

and then she went back to the surf.

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