The Great Debate

Whatever happened to the middle ground? 

A place where opposing views would concede to the benefit of the doubt. A place where we recognize that one without the other is no more than half.  A place to look at things from a different point of view so that we can see them more clearly?  This brings me to the contentious debate that has divided us for far too long. 

After a short rest, ebb waters begin their programmed retreat.  Slowly at first, inconspicuous, but for a floating clump of marsh grass reversing its leisurely course.  Schools of shrimp and mullet soon join in the exodus, fleeing the draining flats and narrowing creeks.  The unnoticed moon is pulling, emptying the marshland of all that’s unattached and unburied. The last trickle of seep cuts veins in the oily, dark bottom as dime-sized holes come alive with fiddler crabs, waiving their dominant claws.  Jagged outcroppings of oysters spit their filtered water, offering perches for herons and egrets in their stealthy hunt for what failed to escape.  Sure, it smells funny, and its muck won’t wash off, but more than a fair trade is offered.  The case can be made in the age-old debate.  Low tide is the best.   

But what of the incoming swell of the sea? Giving breath to shallow nurseries and washing our poisonous spills.  Rising on schedule to take us to work and carry our loads. Cooling the intolerable swelter and thawing the frozen bite.  It stretches our nets and fills our baskets with its unceasing bounty.  Where else does the morning bring twice the colors to see? Where reflections are better than the real thing?  Where warm rays of sunset paint the creeks and bays that it fills to the point of the grass?  It may scurry the marsh hen and chase the mink, but that’s how it works.  It hides bait from the angler and covers the oysterman’s beds, but they know.  We complain when it floods our streets and swamps our yards, but it’s we who impose on its path.  The case is strong in the age-old debate.  High tide is the best.

It might serve us to carefully ponder both sides of the tide. The high and the low, the ebb and the flow.  Because one without the other is no more than half.