Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Reclaiming its own

"I don't mean to alarm you," said Karissa as Asherel limped out of the water with her. These are of course the words that send alarm bells clanging through every fiber of a mother's cellular system.

I quickly scanned my daughter for signs of a missing limb or severed spinal cord. It appeared she had not been attacked by a shark or crushed by a wave. I did not know at the time that the bright purple jellyfish I had seen on my morning bike ride was a Portugese Man of War, whose sting can be deadly. It is good I didn't know that or upon seeing the classic welts of a jelly fish tentacle swipe across Asherel's lower leg, I might have panicked. Instead, I led her quietly back to our beach bag armed with remedies for ocean attacks. This is the positive side of paranoia. I am prepared for shark attack, sunstroke, sunburn, tsunamis, jellyfish invasions, alien abductions,and boredom at the beach. I sprinkled meat tenderizer on her welts, and Asherel reported immediate subsiding of the pain.
It must have been just a run of the mill, ordinary jellyfish because there was only mild swelling and little pain.

It was my fault. Instead of pacing the ocean shore and watching for shark fins or rip tides or maurauding blobs of jellyfish with my emergency preparedness kit in one hand and the cell phone with 911 dialed in the other, when Asherel went off with everyone else , I became quickly absorbed in building a sand Crab. Normally I would have glanced up and my maternal antenna would have sensed those tentacles lurking near my beloved girl, but the tide was coming in and I knew I had maybe 20 minutes tops to finish the crab before the ocean reabsorbed him.

It seems a little silly to be furiously constructing a work of art knowing it will be destroyed only moments upon completion. Not even my family would see it as they were all off body surfing and fighting off jellyfish.

A family with a little boy wandered by and his mom stood him in front of the crab.
"See his face," she said ,"It's smiling."
The boy nodded solemnly.
I smiled too but didn't stop working. The tide was 10 feet away. My back hurt and sweat was pouring off me as the tide crept closer. One last leg to smooth and he would be finished. As I patted the last rough spot, the first wave circled it's tentacles into the trench around my crab. I raced for my camera and snapped a photo just in time. Within minutes the crab was settling into the wet sand, melting away as though he'd never been.

That night Asherel and I were looking at photos of jellyfish and that is when we discovered that the Portugese Man of War is a deadly one that normally is not found in these waters except after a large storm. It is one more thing I hadn't even known I needed to worry about.

Still, I can't ward off all the encroaching tides of life. I suppose if I cared so much about my little creation of sand that I would struggle so hard to bring it to completion before its short life
melted back to it's maker, then surely, my Creator's hand was on me and on Asherel, smoothing the rough spots and chiseling our forms to the perfect image He planned us to become.
He is the only One that can hold back the ocean anyway.

Still, I am glad we plan to kayak today while those Man of War blobs get washed back to the other side of the planet where they belong.

Philippians 1:6
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

- Nothing is impossible with God


  1. Scary!! I've not been in the ocean, save for one knee-deep wade in the Gulf over 10 years ago with a banana mudslide in hand, since the forgotten days of volleyball in south Jersey. I do remember almost drowning twice and once the beach was closed due to j-fish. Love to here your adventures but sorry about Asherel's encounter. I never heard of meat tenderizer as an antidote for j-fish stings. It does somehow make sense as venoms are, I think, proteins.
    Hopefully Asherel will be fine. May God bless us on this beautiful day.

    Raivo <*(((><

  2. I had heard vinegar works for jelly fish stings, but meat tenderizer is much easier to tote along to the beach