Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Red Tide


The summer of 1981, we traveled north to stay at a friend's trailer in Pulsbo, on the Hood Canal in Washington. It was the summer solstice. At low tide, I waded in, Hood Canal was a seafood cornucopia. I gathered armloads of shellfish bounty (mussels, cockles, clams, oysters) like a mighty hunter. I swam seal-like and collected the bounty. The sea provided.  They called me mermaid, and goddess, seaweed wrapped around my thighs. (I was also the only one who knew how to clean the shellfish. So much for the menfolk). And that night we feasted on seafood. Breaded clams. Oysters on the half shell. Mussel and scallop chowder. But as we were all gorging on shellfish, seasoned with garlic and butter, and drinking wine, a news warning flashed on the TV. Red tide this far north? Gulp! I imagined symptoms of red tide poisoning, though there was no evidence of red tide anywhere. It was a long wild night of the imagination, but they soon forgot about it. Someone rolled a doobie, everybody laughed, and carried on, but I was checking for symptoms all through the night wondering if I had poisoned us all.

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