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A Natural History Lexicon: Tidewrack

Tidewrack
Noun

-Seaweed and similar marine vegetation and rubbish deposited along a shore by a receding tide.

Cruise the shoreline of a tidal water. Notice irregularities strewn across beach length horizons. Whether the beach is rocky or sandy, it makes no difference to the water, it shoves what it’s through with to land. Rubbish, however, these tangles are not. They may be jumbles of still alive seaweed, shelter for beach crustaceans, ephemoral homes til a tide again reaches them. Wracks of bull kelp wash ashore, like so many extinguished snakes, as winter takes hold and the kelp beds evaporate into dormancy. In tidewracks we are reminded of our far reaching impacts. Anthropogenic artifacts drift to us across broad expanses and unlike the twists of animal and vegetable, our forgotten objects will float memorializing a moment of carelessness much beyond our lifetimes. The tidewrack is a mystery, amorphous, fluid, and always changing.

Detritus, tidewrack, left by a very high tide, sitting high and dry.

Detritus, tidewrack, left by a very high tide, sitting high and dry.

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