The Battle of the Driftwood | Teen Ink

The Battle of the Driftwood

November 11, 2015
By Sophw3 BRONZE, Winnipeg, Other
Sophw3 BRONZE, Winnipeg, Other
4 articles 1 photo 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Beneath the make-up and behind the smile I am just a girl who wishes for the world" -Marilyn Monroe

As I sit down on my towel and search my bag for my sunglasses, a piece of driftwood slowly bobs up and down near the shore. Driftwood has always been intriguing to me, for it is impossible to know exactly where it comes from. This particular piece is especially captivating. As it bobs up and down with the waves, I can see it resisting the hidden current that the sign near the boardwalk warned me of, “RIPTIDE PRESENT. OCEAN NOT SAFE FOR SWIMMING”.

The behavior of the children on the beach somewhat mimics that of the driftwood, as they run into the water and quickly out again to avoid the dangerous current, no doubt having been frightened by their parents’ stern warnings. I am sitting slightly to the left of the main part of the beach, and the intriguing piece of driftwood is bobbing up and down approximately ten feet in front of me. A child walks up to the driftwood and reaches her hand out to grab it, but the current pulls it just out of reach before she can grasp it. Surprised by its sudden movement, the child steps back. I am relieved. Somehow, I do not want anyone to touch this piece of wood, lest they interfere in its brave little fight against the tide.

I can’t quite wrap my head around why I have become so caught up with this seemingly insignificant piece of wood. Sooner or later, it will be caught by the powerful current and swept out to sea again. That I am sure of, for the driftwood is at most one foot long, and looks to be no more than a pound in weight. It is a determined little fragment of Mother Nature, and I realize how badly I am going to feel when it gets swept away. How can it be fair for this small piece of the Earth to be overcome by the powerful force of the tide? It has no chance, simply because it is so small compared to the tauntingly large body of water on which it is floating. It is not fair that this small piece of wood cannot win its battle against the current. Yet that is the way the world works. This small piece of driftwood will be swept back out to sea. It will serve as a temporary home for tiny sea creatures, make friends with the sharks, and dance with the seaweed. And then a storm will come along, and the rough waves will carry this little piece of wood away from the environment it has become so accustomed to. It will continue drifting, eventually reaching another shore far away from here, where it will try, as it is now, to fight the current and roll onto the sand. And then a curious child will pick it up and throw it back out to sea, where it will continue to bob ceaselessly up and down, finally succumbing to its fate after its years of unsuccessfully attempting to repel the powerful tide.

Breaking from my reverie, I notice a piece of seaweed that has wrapped itself around the driftwood. My heart leaps. Perhaps the weight of the seaweed will allow the driftwood to settle on the shore. “Settling”, though, is quite the opposite of “drifting”. I remind myself that this small piece of wood is called “driftwood” for a reason. Driftwood is wood that has been separated from the tree on which it was born; separated from the roots that kept it in one place. Driftwood is wood that has been swept up by the forceful pull of a current. This particular piece of driftwood made its way here, to this very beach where I am sitting right now, watching it, willing it to win its battle against the current, willing it to settle, wrapped up in its newly found companion.

I am distracted from my close observations of the driftwood by the sound of a motorboat speeding by. It takes a moment for me to realize why the waves are picking up. I hear a child scream as their shoe gets caught in a wave, and hear the loud voice of the child’s father instructing him not to go after his shoe. The boat! The boat has strengthened the current; and my eyes travel frantically to the place where the driftwood had been only a few seconds earlier. I am rewarded with one last glance of Mother Nature’s determined little creation before it separated from the seaweed and swept back out to sea.

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