Mussel Rocks, Muir Beach | Mark LIndsay

"The tide is at its lowest today!" A woman with a wide-brimmed hat caught my eye and whispered to me in excitement. I'd barely gotten to Muir Beach and had already realized there was something very special on that foggy morning. The surf was way out. Way out. A bunch of women with wide-brimmed hats seemed to have sensed that the tide would be low that day. They were everywhere, combing the beach, looking, being, acting like the curlews that were searching for food. The birds were oblivious to the women with silly hats. They were doing there own thing, seemingly very happy to be curlews on that fine morning.

The low tide had revealed an underworld of life. Starfish, snails, and mollusks of all type were uncomfortably naked, clinging to the rocks for safety. The red-billed oyster catchers were having a field day, pecking at the poor, shelled creatures. The birds seemed to be smiling, though the moon's gravitational pull may have gotten to me and I can't really be trusted for an accurate account. The morning had sorcery in the air and magic has a way of playing with one's cognitive abilities.

The world on the edge of the great oceans is where it all began. Life started here and when we humans don't muck it up, still thrives with vibrancy. On that day I could tap into life's source. Everyone on Muir Beach could feel it. We were being treated to a spectacular show. Photography seems incapable of recording such moments, but it does allow me to look back, into the past, at that frozen moment. I hold that time to my chest like a cherished snapshot, ever grateful for tides of all kind.