I was extraordinarily tired of never ending winter. I’m not habitually a cold weather grumbler, but this year Old Man Winter really had New England in his crosshairs. We were completely crushed by snow and frozen in, rock solid. On the official first day of spring, the snow bank at the end of my driveway was still taller than me. Granted, I’m no Gwendoline Christie, but still I’m concerned that we’ll have snow into June this year.
With a Use-It-or-Lose-It vacation policy and parents who had an extra room at their beach condo, I flew south in an effort to readjust my attitude with sand, surf and vitamin D. The trip was lovely… but once again, I have a bizarrely epic tale to share.
I know I’ve said it before, but I’m an introvert. I love people, I enjoy spending time with them, but I also crave time alone to keep me balanced. As splendid as it was to spend some time with my parents, I also made the effort to carve out some moments for myself most days. It was early in the season, and the beach was private, so more often than not I had my own isolated stretch of ocean. Amazing!
One afternoon, I took a beach stroll. It was about 60 degrees and I was happy to soak my toes in the sea. It was easy to spot the southerners – they were all wearing heavy coats and knit hats, whilst this northern gal was frolicking, ankle deep in the waves. I came around the point and happened upon a small, agitated crowd, staring out into the water.
An older woman in a “puffy” coat, was quick to point out the dolphin that was hung up on the sand bar, mired in shallow water. The tide was on its way out and it was clear that before long that poor Delphinidae was going to be completely beached. The onlookers huddled together, asking if anyone knew who to call for dolphin rescuing. They lamented, to a man, isn’t it a shame and what a tragedy.
There was a lot of talking and a glaring lack of doing.
It became abundantly clear that if I wasn’t the one to do something, nothing would be done.
I rolled up my pants, took off my headphones and waded in. For the record, bottlenose dolphins are carnivorous. Their diet consists mostly of forage fish. Which means teeth, lots and lots of sharp, pointy teeth. As I slowly worked my way around to the back, I cajoled softly… Please don’t bite me, I am not a fish.
I took a deep breath and gently took a firm grip at the base of my new friend Flipper’s tail. Praying he didn’t thrash and send me into the drink, I waited for the next wave and tugged. At nearly 6 feet and probably 250 pounds I fully appreciated the science of buoyancy as I maneuvered him off the sand. (In case you are wondering, that’s on the small side – this feller was probably juvenile.)
They say dolphins are extremely bright. Whether he simply exhausted himself struggling, or recognized that I was there to help, I am relieved to report that there was no tail whipping or chomping of human flesh. I pulled until we were in deep enough where he could float clear and slowly backed away. Flipper stared at me for an eternally long moment, then made a slow, wide turn and slipped off into deeper water.
I waded ashore. And the Do-Nothings cheered.
I was so mad at the apathy that I simply grabbed my things, stuffed my earbuds back in my ears and walked away without a word. I know I shouldn’t judge, but sheesh. Luckily for Flipper, I am a woman of action.