Rising Tide

When hurricane Katrina hit, it tore into New Orleans at a pace no one could have predicted.  It brought with it flood waters leaving a city and its people stranded on roof-tops, awaiting rescue without resources.  But as the water receded, more than one hundred and fifty countries rushed in with volunteers, supplies and resources.

When the water rose; the people did too.

When a massive wall of water hit Thailand, obliterating it’s coastal fishing towns and major ports, people from around the world jumped on planes to assist lost ones in locating their families and to support the repair efforts by rebuilding infrastructures for clean water, homes and medical facilities.

The water overtook town after town, but yet, the people came forth.  

When my own community was hit by a devastating mudslide, the entire community offered to step up in all ways possible.  New homes were located, cars were loaned and gifted, food was delivered and people showed up in countless ways to offer kindness, compassion and whatever donations were needed.

The rain came down, the creek overflowed, and the community rose.

We are in the midst of a world pandemic which has created a state of complex isolation and a historical low-tide moment in time.  COVID-19 has hit like waves breaking into each other and as its impact has rolled into each of our shorelines.

I walk the beach daily.  My walk, a ritual I loved pre-pandemic has now become a daily necessity of perspective-seeking.  I see the water rush right up to the cliff edges and I see it pull away, leaving reflective pools pocketed in sand. When the tide draws back, much is exposed. There are mossy, green-slicked rocks surrounded by all variations of invertebrates. There are sharp, jagged-edged rocks, peaking out in all directions; hermit crabs at their footing. There is driftwood and sea glass, polished and worn, marked by stories of their journey to the shore. There are tiny bits of shells and darting, shallow fish. And there are white, mystical-looking egrets and herons that grace the ocean edges with their presence. Their long, statuesque bodies holding space to feed in the shallow waters but only enough space so not to intrude on the divine balance of all the diversity of life this natural and constant state of flow provides.

IMG_4495IMG_4494IMG_4496(photo by Anna Stump, Negative Tide at Leadbetter)

As the oceans’ tides rise and fall twice a day, inertia and gravity play their part.  One forms, where the earth and moon are closest, and the other where they are furthest apart.

They work together, but separate.  

The tide rises and falls, and during these past four months, I have too.

Everything has been bubbling up for each one of us as the impact of COVID-19 persists. Have you felt it?  Every single vulnerability or insecurity has stared me down as I move through a day of managing virtual school for four kids, the variability of job security, the lack of contact with others and the invisible beast we have now named “the virus”.

IMG_5040(photo by Anna Stump, Mesa)

With all this, there is an undeniable truth that stares me in the face:  That the future is far more out of our control than we ever want to accept; and the acceptance that well before COVID-19, there was far too much separation between us all.

With COVID-19, the tide has pulled out further than ever before, revealing all the rough edges we, as a society, have neglected to tend.  These reflective pools cannot be stepped over anymore.

IMG_5020(photo by Anna Stump, Butterfly Beach reflections)

Inequalities of education, access, social injustice and racism are now, more than ever, begging to be looked at head on with clarity and bold new ways to be addressed.  They cannot be diluted anymore.  There are far too many precious ones who have been left out at low tide.  No more.

Where is our collective grief supposed to go during a pandemic, a racial uprising and an educational revolution?  How do we move this grief to action?  

There is a gravitational pull for all of us to stand up together for what brings more HUMANITY to our entire world.

We will rise. We will continue to create possibility. We will stretch what we see our capabilities to be, and we will rise. We will stand in clear, shallow water and take a step forward. We will look out to the horizon and honor its endless ways to give us perspective and hope. We will rise.  We will rise because the water has risen within us and to simply gasp or release it through tears streaming down our faces is not enough.  We will rise because this is what communities do together when water rises.  We rise.

IMG_5023(photo by Anna Stump, Leadbetter Beach)


If we want to push for change, we need to begin within our own home.  I struggled to navigate difficult questions from our daughters this past month about the death of George Floyd, police brutality and inequality that is deeply-seeded in our country.  How do I talk about these topics with our daughters, ages eight through fourteen?  I didn’t feel sure about guiding them in the right way and I realized I didn’t have simple answers.  As it is with so many aspects of parenting, listening more than telling, always creates more connection.  Here are some questions that I believe will keep the difficult conversations going with my daughters:

How will you support what you believe is right?

How do you see injustice in our world?

When you see what is unjust, how will you rise?  

IMG_4945(Photo by Anna Stump, Chalk art done by our daughers in our driveway)

Our daughters are invested in becoming activists but this is not easy during a pandemic when protests mean large numbers of people gathering close together.  Our community orchestrated a paddle-out in support of our local chapter of #BlackLivesMatter.  The Pacific Ocean, a place where the tide rises and falls, held a large group of people together, safely, to support a cause that has engaged many who are pushing for change.  It’s a start and our daily actions in this rising tide matter.

IMG_5106(Photo by Blake Bronstad) 

#risingtides #rise #engage #nomore #wewillrise #socialequality #parentingforabetterfuture #catchlight #mothering #apartbuttogether #itshightime


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