My Intertidal Inspiration

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

I stare out from the bay, my hip waders sunken into the mushy sand as I admire the smooth and confident glide of a blue heron landing on a rusted rack off the next sandbar. My father and I share an affinity towards nature, as well as an ever-curious, wandering mind. I tell myself to stay on task and train my eyes on the oyster awaiting my attention. I’ve worked the farm long enough now to have gained an internal sense of oyster weight. I hold a slimy, fresh one in my hand for milliseconds before passing it into the red bucket. Our occasional weekend helpers, mostly pity-filled aunts and uncles, need to be supervised. They ask, “Is this one an “ugly”?”, “The red bucket goes to the Oyster House, right?”, and “How bumpy is too bumpy?”. It’s not their fault that they are clueless - I was too, a few months ago.

Taking initiative has been an indispensable piece of my transition to adulthood. When the tide is surrounding us at unyielding speed, and our farm is becoming less and less visible as the water expands, there isn’t time for uncertainty and cautious questions. I have learned to stop standing lackadaisically and make myself useful.

Although that sounds obvious, I didn’t figure out the simple lessons until I had to. My father...

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