AMONG the ROCKS at LOW TIDE

There’s a place I like to go when the tide pulls

the water off the ancient rocks

buffed by centuries of waves.

Lifting the liquid curtain, gravity unveils

enough shapes and patterns in this small spot

for a master’s thesis in visual aesthetics.

Steadfastly present yet ever-changing, the

land-water-scape draws me in

as it draws and sculpts itself.

*

1. On an exhilarating April day cumulus clouds ornament the sky as receding waves lap gently against the shore.

2. Stepping onto the rocks, I find a rippled canvas of scrawled messages, like a Pollack drip painting in the making or the fine craquelure on an old piece of pottery.

*

Like the waves at my feet, my mind’s eye shifts back and forth between sumptuous curves of basalt and the austere gray marks creeping across its surface. Even as I frame them, the abstract patterns are evaporating in the afternoon sun. Water shifts from one state to another as the mass of cold, sloshing liquid rolls through the strait, splashes smudgy films and wet pockets into cracks and depressions, then fizzles and morphs into humidity in the air.

*

3.
4.
5.
6. Mysterious circles are scattered about like thrown hoops. This one begs the question of time.
7. Turned this way or that way, messages take on different meanings.
8.
9.
10. Back and forth, the tide continues, a pious servant of the sun, moon and earth.
11.

12.
13.

14. Even the barnacles, mussels and limpets leave messages on the rocks when the tide goes out.
15. Huddled
16. Scrunched.

17. A palette of warm hues bleeds into cool ones, the lot marked with cold, impatient scratches and dark, muddled crevices. To me, pure beauty.
18. I puzzle over the mysterious circles, some empty, some full. Evaporation must play a role here but exactly how the shapes appear and fade, I don’t know. That’s OK – not knowing keeps doors open.

***

Ten years ago today I followed a team of white horses and a caisson through Arlington National Cemetery to the final resting place of Sean Callahan, Sergeant, United States Marine Corps. I was there for his family, for friends whose sons deployed with Sean, for myself, and for my own son, who was still back in Afghanistan. It was a dangerous, stupid war but our sons cared deeply about what they were doing and about one another. Most of us were lucky; my son came home two months later. Sean’s family still mourns him. I know they’re remembering him today. Semper Fi.


81 comments

  1. These are so artful and zen feeling the patterns and textures of your land water scapes are so stellar … Lovely compositions and colour palettes Lynn some of the b/w is also fun! Enjoy your days wonderful to see ๐ŸŒž๐ŸŒท๐Ÿค— hugs hedy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely love your abstract compositions, Lynn. Stunning shapes, lines and colors. How fun to find and photograph. A beautiful post and your final tribute was quite moving. Hope you are enjoying your emerging freedom. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • We’re about to enjoy it even more…planning a trip back east in a few weeks. There were people around me on the day pictured above who were enjoying the beauty in other, more “normal” ways – I was lost in my own world and happy that it was possible to do that in a popular state park. These rocks are only visible at extra-low tides, and then it DOES need to be during daylight…so it’s a special thing. I’m glad you liked the photos. Thank you so much. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Few people pay this sort of attention to detail, Lynn. I love it that you do ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ Sobering thought about the young man. So lucky that mine is alive and well. We sometimes forget to be grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Since earliest childhood I’ve had this tendency to be fascinated with details, so why not put it to good use, or at least enjoy it? ๐Ÿ˜‰ You’re so right about being grateful for our loved ones and so much else…thank you.

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  4. Your photos are spectacular ! Such abstract beauties and treasures!
    And yet everyday natural phenomena and details just there not waiting for witnesses, permanently changing and transforming.
    Thanks for discovering, taking time and showing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is such a nice comment to read, thank you! Yes, the world goes on whether we notice or not…it’s worthwhile to pay attention to it – there are small miracles happening everywhere. Thanks so much for being here.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent criss-crossing in 2: your craquelure has crack allure. You’ve amassed other alluring abstractions from 11 onward.

    That’s an unexpected turn your text takes at the end. I didn’t know you had a son in the military. I’m glad he came back safe. I despair our country can come back safe from its latest manias.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The rocks in this place are really amazing – I’m sure you’d love it, too. One has to wait for a day when the low tide is extra low – isn’t it great when you’re there at the right time?
      Yes, it was tough while he was in Afghanistan but we had a strong group of parents who supported one another and that was crucial in the end. When you’ve lived through a few wars and all the other nonsense of the last 60 – 70 years you have to wonder if things will ever improve. One can only hope that the younger generation will get it right.

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  6. I’m thinking those circles must be blue-green algae on the rocks, but how they form is a mystery. West coast tide pool creatures are so much bigger than east coast ones. I love the beauty of the pools and the way everything grows and feeds and lives off of everything else. Thanks for sharing your view.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alge, I hadn’t thought of that. I didn’t see any trace of green but that doesn’t mean much. Your observation about everything feeding and living off of everything else applies to the forests, too, and it’s a good one. Thank you for stopping by, Jean…have a wonderful week…I bet you’re finding loads of treasures to draw!

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      • Blue-green algae looks black and its the only thing that can grow on rocks at the top of the high-tide line. It can live out of the water when the water recedes. It usually is just a black line– I’ve never seen it in a ring, but might be worth looking up.

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  7. The sky in the first picture is wonderful! Such beautiful clouds. They are even nicer than a blue sky right? Talking about structures: I love your pictures! These lines and circles – so mysterious! The lines remind me of ancient signs (#3), a bit like in your next to last post the petroglyphs. Maybe they are messages from nature ๐Ÿ™‚ Fascinating like the circles. You are right, not knowing keeps the door open, but I like to guess ๐Ÿ˜‰ The pictures where you worked with the blue shadows are gorgeous. The last one or #13. I like these strong colors and patterns, that play so well together. Nr 12 is just wow! Like an abstract artwork. One doesn’t know anything, very strange and wonderful! I also love the shells / barnacles in 14, 15 and 16. I would put them on the wall! 14 and 15 tickle my brain, that doesn’t know where to put these forms, but it is amazed. I am really thrilled by all these forms. Again you are so lucky to have all these exciting surroundings near you. Thank you for taking us with you ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Yes, a blue sky filled with cumulous clouds is the best – we had a day like that yesterday, so fresh and exhilarating. I like your connectin between the petroglyphs and #3 – I didn’t htink of that. Thanks for mentioning #12, which was just too blue, so I tried it in black and white. And the barnacles – they photographed well in that strong light; I was happy with those, too. Maybe I could make a triptych from them if I cropped them to the same proportions and put them together, then printed them…hmm….
      I’m happy to make you happy, Almuth. ๐Ÿ™‚ Once this pandemic is over with maybe you cn get up to the Rugen area, by the water – I bet you would have a greatt ime there. Thank you for your enthusiasm! ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • I think the triptych would be a good idea ๐Ÿ™‚ – Rugen? Or do you mean Rรผgen? Maybe you were thinking of Ule, she has been to Rรผgen, I haven’t so far. But I am sure it is a beautiful place. I would love to visit the other islands in the east see. At the moment I can be happy to circle around Hannover ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have a good weekend!

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        • Yes, that’s who I was thinking of and my keyboard doesn’t have an umlaut. ๐Ÿ˜‰ That place or anyplace like it, but you’re right, you see great things walking around Hannover too. Wow, I’m late with this reply, sorry!

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  8. Nice abstractions. You’ve found the beauty in these intimate landscapes that most folks simply walk past, unnoticing. And I’ve got to wonder about those circles. A rock version of crop circles? Sign language from Mother Earth? Soft edges from dinosaur tracks?

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    • Yes, there was a fair number of people there that day but they went their way and I went mine. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I like your conjectures about the circles…I’ll look for them again the next time I’m there at aminus tide. Thanks, Dave!

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  9. ” … a masterโ€™s thesis in visual aesthetics.” that’s a nice thought! Here I really like 3, 6, 7, 11, 14 and 16. Re war, I don’t think things will ever change, since we have had, and continue to have, such firmly held convictions about nationhood, patriotism, religions, ideologies, our national influence around the world, national flags, national anthems and so on, and since currently there are major nations actively trying to destabilise other nations. I’m sure there are many people around the world who see no worth in this relentless competition and aggression, but the cruncher is that those in charge of the various nations have no option but to go with it – or indeed are enthusiastic about it. A sad scene.

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    • It’s always interesting to see which photos you pick out. And thanks for sharing your viewpoints on the prevalence of war and its connections to nationalism, ideologies, etc. Sometimes it seems futile to think we might change but when I look at the (admittedly slow) progess we’ve made in some areas, e.g. gender issues, I have a little bit of hope. Then there’s what we’re doing to the planet, which may prevent us from staying around long enough to end war – now there’s a cheerful thought! Have a good rest of your week! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  10. I love these subjective messages that the seaside offers to our eyes and that we can – or cannot – understand.
    The tide lines, whether in rocky areas like this, or in areas of sand, offer beautiful graphics and details, as the photos in this post reveal so well. And sometime strange details.
    As a mother, I understand – without really understanding – what it will be like to have a son in the war and the pain it must cause.Tributes can take many forms: why not also through nature and beautiful images like these? Perhaps that young man will enjoy … wherever he is!
    I wish you a happy day!

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    • I know you’re familiar with the many ways the shoreline and sea can inspire us. And I bet you have been studying the graphics of the tidelines for decades, so it’s nice to see your comment. You final thought is really beautiful, and generous. Thank you so much, Dulce, have a wonderful day. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Your visit is appreciated – thanks so much. The Japanese aesthetic has always appealed to me too, as have many philosphical ideas that derive from zen. It’s a rich world we live in!

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  11. Brilliant set of images
    Really enjoyed reading โ€œ…not knowing keeps doors openโ€. We live in a time where people think answers lie in a google search or Wikipedia and not in or imagination or in possibilities. As if our curiosity should end with a full stop!!!
    โ€œThe important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has itโ€™s own reason for existingโ€
    Albert Einstein
    Best wishes
    Mr C ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ“ธ

    Liked by 1 person

    • My partner and I are fond of saying to one another, “We just don’t know!” and then smiling. As much as I love using Wikipedia to learn things, it’s important to remember the value of not knowing, too, as you and Albert havew said. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks so much!

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      • The wonder of the world through a child’s eyes isn’t about knowing. Often it’s about not knowing! Sadly as we become adults many of us lose that sense of wonder and the possibilities and enjoyment that come with not knowing…
        Keep those doors open…
        Best wishes,
        Mr C ๐Ÿ™‚

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  12. The land-water-scape (great word creation) pulls me also in, whenever I get near to it.
    And from the first picture on, I’m always pulled into your beautiful world, dear Lynn.
    Sure to have found my favourite in no.2’s craquelure building a net with the darkened(graduated filter?) pebbles in the background, I’m immediately tied up by the mysterious inscriptions in the following photos.
    “Back and forth” as you write you go by the order of your picture show, from overview to details to overview again. Very fine construction to a total work of art.
    And finally, after having seen the whole series, it’s no.14, 15 and 17 that overwhelm me with their delicate forms and colours.

    Ten years ago memories do not hurt less than fresher ones, and I feel sad for all people having died from violence, be it from war, police or “simple” civilian kind. Thank you for keeping thoughts awake, dear Lynn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eversince Almuth talked about how the German language often puts works together, I’ve been more conscious of going ahead and combining words whenever I want to – hey, you do it, why can’t I? ๐Ÿ˜‰ #2 had a shady area and a sunnier area when I took the photo but I may have adjusted it with the graduated filter, which I use regularly (along with a few other tools!!). It was wonderful that the smooth undulations of the rocks were enough of a treat but then when I looked closer I found so much more. And I did try to put overview images between the series of details becasue I thought that enhanced the overall rhythm. Thank you for noticing and mentioning it. You are a treasure!! (The colors got to me, too – a lot there, but in a subtle way). Thank you so much, Ule, I feel your positive thoughts and feelings all the way over here. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  13. I love to see the world through your images, Lynn. These are beautiful.

    Hard to believe that sad day in Arlington was a decade ago now. And hard to understand how we, as a species gifted with awareness, can live in a world so filled with natural beauty and grace and still so blindly participate in its destruction…if only we could all see what glory is all around us, and honor it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a surprise to see you here, Anne, I’m never sure if people who see posts on FB have the time to scroll all the way to the bottom. It’s really hard to beleive, isn’t it? Ten years! Your thoughts are much appreciated…you know I agree…thank you for taking the time to comment and take care! I miss you!.

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  14. Low tide always seems to encourage further examination. This selection is both interesting and challenging and, simultaneously, provides an abundance of source material for further exploration and experimentation.

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    • Yes, that’s a good way to put it – the tide goes out, and immediately one wants to see what’s there. I love the idea that this post is interesting and challenging, Louis – thank you very much for that!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Penny – asemic writing – writing that isn’t legible, like in Cy Twombly’s painting…

      “Asemic writing is a wordless open semantic form of writing. The word asemic /eษชหˆsiหmษชk/ means “having no specific semantic content”, or “without the smallest unit of meaning”. With the non-specificity of asemic writing there comes a vacuum of meaning, which is left for the reader to fill in and interpret.”

      So it’s something artists do but I see nature doing, too. You must have typed it in wrong – or are the authorities quarantining knowledge, too? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just kidding!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  15. Pingback: AMONG the ROCKS at LOW TIDE – MobsterTiger

  16. If I had done nothing more than read your opening poem, Iโ€™d have been more than satisfied by this post, Lynn. Your poem is so visual. You just couldnโ€™t express everything you felt and saw with photographs alone, could you. Iโ€™m glad. I could look at #2โ€”the lines, the lumps, the small stones, the lightโ€”all day. But Iโ€™m happy that I didnโ€™t, it left time for #s 3 through 9, each one a gem. The dikes (I think thatโ€™s what theyโ€™re called) in #11 add dynamism to the image. (Hah, I was right. Google says a dike is โ€œan intrusion of igneous rock cutting across existing strata.โ€) Love the color transition in #17, which has its own dikes. Nice to see you and the full circles in #18. Nice to see and read it all.

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    • You’re too kind, Linda, thank you. Funny, when you said you could look at the scene in #2 all day, that’s exactly how I felt. It was a fabulous visual smorgasbord. I moved slowly! You’re probably right about the geological term for those white stripes – or what about inclusions, could that be it? Maybe both are right? Oh, OK, I just read your next sentence!! So funny!! Thank you for telling me about dikes. Got to remember that. The light was great that day – getting out of the house late has its advantages. Thank you! Coming up is a post showing more ordinary, around-town sights, which I think you’ll enjoy. Have a good one!

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  17. I really like all the barnacle shots. My favorite of the bunch is number 12 which reminds me of some of the ice abstracts I see here.
    I am sorry that so many did not come back from Afghanistan and all the other wars of greed and hate we’ve experienced in our lifetimes and before. And also for those who did return, like your son, who carry the mental and physical scars of conflict. Your final paragraph expresses the feelings of so many so well, Lynn.

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    • #12 does look like ice, doesn’t it? I appreciate your thoughts about wars. Old men tend to send young men off to die in them, again and again. We don’t learn. Some die – always too many, even one is too many – and some return having grown from the experience. But others never regain their equilibrium. And then there are the families and friends who are affected…ripples that reach farther than we imagine. Thanks for your sensitivity, Steve.

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