Memorable Meetings in the Intertidal Zone

We check in most every year, this rock and I. Down in the low zone when a minus tide and modest swell permit. It’s more accurate to say I check in. The last time was a pleasant, cloudy morning in May. I’m always eager to catch up. The rock hosts mussels and barnacles up top, and red seaweeds run down its shoulders to the sand. A swash of green surfgrass separates the salt and pepper on top from the coralline below. These occupants lend a look as familiar as an old friend’s, and as people do, I look for changes.

Big rock exposed at low tide, surrounded by a water-filled trench in the sand
May 26, 2021

Before last May, the most recent photo I have handy is from May 2018. Over three years, the changes have been subtle. Do you notice any? (One thing for sure, the weather was remarkably similar.)

Big rock exposed at low tide, surrounded by a water-filled trench in the sand
May 17, 2018

Following the reunion, I took advantage of the short time afforded by the rising tide to renew a couple of other notable acquaintanceships.

Here’s the rock as it appeared the first time I photographed it.

Big rock exposed at low tide, surrounded by a water-filled trench in the sand
April 26, 2013

I share other comparative musings in On the Rocks: Now and Then.

Memorable Events


    1. That closing image was from 2013. It was an amazing year in the intertidal. Everything seems so rich and bountiful, and the colors were so vivid. Thanks, Tina!

  1. Long time no see, Steve! Happy to hear from you, and I love Between starfish and the sky. The abstract I could paint! I too have friends to check out, but in my forest. My oldest stump has fallen though, some years ago, and is now going back to the soil where he was born. I miss him and the usual talk about life when I pass his place. I still give him a nod every time.

  2. Steve, thank you for sharing your observations and thoughts about the rock. What a noticeable difference between the picture of the rock in 2013 and then again in 2018 and 2021. As some people seem to age, early on it appears quite vibrant and over the years it becomes statelier and more majestic looking. Great pictures and I enjoyed reading your post!

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