High Tide

orange pontoonI was in Wilmington, NC, this weekend talking to a woman who works at a riverside tourist booth in the city’s trendy downtown area. She had a lot to say, and not all of it good, about Wilmington’s growth over the past several years, but what was most striking was this offhand comment: “The tide is coming in.” She was looking both at me and past me at a support wall of some kind on the other side of the river and gauged the ebb and flow of the tide by the waterline along the wall. No doubt she can tell time, probably down to the minute, by the exposed and unexposed wooden beams on the far side of the river. It was her way, I suppose, of saying that she was a longtime resident and knew the essence of the place long before the I-40 extension turned it into a tourist destination and the downtown waterfront area became the mini carnival it is today.