Mary Wells’s Sea Lessons

I grew up in Ohio and was stunned when I was ten and first saw the sea. I didn’t know enough geography to know any of the seas and oceans existed.  That first view gave me an idea about living and I am only happy living close to water. But not sand. Sand has more bacteria than the water washing up on it. The water may clear up but it leaves its bacteria from many sources behind. Every skin infection I ever had came from sand until a scientist explained sand to me.

Jellyfish are increasing dramatically because they love polluted water. The ones we saw in the bay of Kotor were like bridal bouquets with satin ribbons and the bay was crowded and pulsating with them. “No swimming,” a very old woman shook her finger at me. “I’m not crazy,” I told her. “They’re singing to you,” she said. They were in fact making a weird sound. I got out of there! The ones in the South of France are tiny circles, almost invisible. They give a mighty sting. I just have to look at water – not swim in it. Although now that Candy has given me the idea of swimming in my bicycle shorts I might get into the pool with the grandchildren.

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