Saturday, June 13, 2015

Tidal Pulls

It's Saturday, 13 June.  Today the Boulder Iron Man Triathlon is taking place - swimming, biking, running.  Multiple streets are closed, the library will be packed, and the Boulder Creek Path is closed.  If I were on the Eastern Shore, I'd be in Cape Charles for the Tall Ships Festival - I guess having watermen, fishermen, ship captains, sailors, whalers, and Vikings in one's history doesn't allow one to ignore the call of the sea, the pull of the tides, the smell of salt marshes, and the cries of sea birds.  A single scent, sound, or sight can completely entrap me and send me back to the islands and beaches I grew up on....  It's amazing.  I've been in Colorado for 13 years, but when I hear the cry of a seagull in a parking lot, I have to blink multiple times to make sure I'm in the Rocky Mountains, and not on the coast of Florida or Virginia.
   I have to trace Dad's ancestors back at least 8 generations to find folks who were not farmers or teachers or preachers.  Then one finds sailors and fishermen, whalers and chandlers.  I do feel a great affinity to the land, the seasons, and crops.  Of course, I am very close to all animals and living creatures - but the sea always has a much stronger pull.  Mom was born and raised on Chincoteague and Assateague Islands in Virginia; her mother was born and raised in the same place.  Pop-pop, or Cap'n Walt, was born of American parents, who had Swedish parents - Walt and his brother Ben were born in New Jersey, but the family returned to southern Sweden a couple of weeks after each boy was born.  The boys were raised in Sweden, but returned to the US at the age of 20, using their dual citizenship.  Black Andy (Andreas Johansson), Walt and Ben's father, held dual citizenship (US and Swedish), as did his wife, Hannah Olsen. Black Andy was a mechanic and engineer, but his sons were raised as watermen and light farmers.  I have no further knowledge of Andy and Hannah's ancestors.  Cap'n Walt married Aleda Peterson of Chincoteague; Aleda's mother was a Tarr; her father was the son of a Danish farmer and waterman, Andreas Pedersen, and Esther Whealton.  It's through great-great-grandma Esther that the family traces back to the 1640s on Chincoteague - the Whealton family.
   When I'm in the mountains, whether the Rockies, or the older chain near the east coast, I am always in awe of the grandeur and size of our world.  The scenes, the flora and the fauna are truly awesome.  But it is the sea that owns my heart - that unpredictable, unbelievably strong entity that surrounds our continents.  Humans still know so little about the life forms that live in the seas and oceans of our world - they are so varied and misunderstood - and so many are still undiscovered.  All I know is that I belong to the sea...  The sound of the waves, the aroma of the air, the thunder of surf, the quiet lapping of wavelets, the sound of boat horns, the sounds of moving water - water that is never still, the sudden squalls and equally sudden glassiness of the water, sounds of the salt marsh, the sounds of fish jumping, dolphins breaching, and the ever-present sound of the birds.  I am of the sea.

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