When I moved to the East Coast, I had no familiarity with tides. The beaches in Massachusetts looked, felt, sounded and even smelled like the beaches of Lake Michigan where I grew up. The only difference, it seemed, was the taste of salt on my lips when I dove in the cold water. It took many years to get used to the real differences the tides made on the shores and in my life there. The tides told us where to lay our towels on the beach. Too close and the tide shifts would soak us. They told us when we could set out in a boat and when a sandbar would land us; when we could make it under a bridge from harbor to open sea or when the water was too close to the bridge for the boat to make it through. The tides dictated when we could walk the beach, with sand pounded hard and flat at low tide or our path disappeared at high. And the storms are profoundly influenced by the tides. At worst, the tides are a destructive force. At best, they create such interesting tidal pools. It took years for me to get a handle on the irregularity of the tides and their influence. I remain awed.