July 7, 2011


They have arrived. At first, they were phantom-like: impossible to detect in the water, but for the screams of the children inevitably being stung on shore (usually when I was way out in the water, uneasily imagining my voyage back to shore). I've not been stung since my time here with D'uncle, about three weeks ago. I was out night-swimming in Barn Creek, the dark water cradling me as David sat, monitoring my survival, when a nettle brushed against my torso. I could feel its tentacles brush my skin like ribbons, sliding across my side. It felt like burning and vinegar in my eye at the same time. I climbed out, threw myself in the hottest of hot showers, and recovered. I still find that I fear them, floating white and bulbous in the cloudy bay water. And they're here en masse. They are beautiful--I can't deny that. Odd, otherworldly. They really don't seem like they should exist. Jelly-like tentacled floaters that sting like hell, just wafting about the Middle Peninsula like underwater balloons? I sort of really do hate them, admittedly. I haven't had a proper swim in days, ever since I stuck one toe in the water at Tin Can Alley and jumped backwards, reeling at the sight of them, trailing across the surf.

But. Something else, that is amazing. At night, as harmless as the sea nettles are venomous, the sea walnuts slap ashore, emitting bright bursts of blue-green in the milky tide. The same beach that by day seems beset by a mean-hearted attack turns magical. Stingless and glowing, the sea walnuts, jostled in the waves, phospheresce. If I was brave enough to swim among their less delightful cousins, they would bump against me and the water would light blue and green. I find myself biking to Tin Can Alley at night to sit on the salt-worn wood and watch them spin and tumble in the water I'll avoid until late August, glowing.

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