When I was a child my daddy would put his beloved boat, The Never-No II into the water by way of the family boat ramp into Abbapoola Creek. This ramp is still a tradition that is enjoyed by many family members today. Daddy was a skilled boater and knew every bank and oyster bed as he made his way through the winding turns to the big water of the Stono River. Although there were many challenges to be navigated around I learned that there is a beautiful ugly of low tide.
It always made me a bit nervous when the Never-No was launched on a low tide. You would see mounds of pluff mud, blue crabs looking the next delicious toe to attack and tiny fiddler crabs with claws that were three times as large as their small bodies. There was also junk throw into the creek by my grandfather (Gumpa) that DNR by today’s standards would consider a felony offense.
I preferred to have the boat launched and retrieved on high tide. The miles of green-hued marsh skirted with high water hid all the ugliness and threatening creek creatures. I knew what was below the surface but because I could not see what was there, those scary things did not appear to exist.
It was not until recently that I have found value in low tides. It is the same as it is in life. Those high tides give us the “feel-good” moments and our emotions are shallow. Life is good and our world is at peace. But ebb tides can quickly reverse our lives and expose all of the ugly.
I mentioned in my book, “Bury Me with My Pearls” that you do not know who you are until you have to be who you think you are. Character reveals itself when unexpected challenges rears its ugly head. Hard times are a double-edged sword; it either reveals character or produces character. If you are wise, you will let it do both.
High tides and low tides are an inevitable part of life. My friend Larry Winget says it best, “Hope for the best, expect the worst and celebrate it all.” For someone reared on the coast of the Lowcountry, I say, “Hope for high tides, expect low tides and find the beauty in both.”
Celebrate the beauty in your low tides.