I want to tell you girls of something I saw a long time ago, that I have never told anyone! You know that I am soon to be 100 years old, so I think it is finally time to tell this story! I am telling you both because you had such a fine time playing in the sand at Goose Rocks beach where I remember your daddy in the summertime when he was growing up. Besides, you both are so lively, and have good imaginations, I think you will believe me!
It all started the evening before my birthday when I was turning twelve. I was gathering razor clams at low tide. Razor clams are different than other clams, since you don’t dig them. They stick up out of the sand, so you have to sneak up on them and grab them before they burrow down into the sand again! I was hoping to top off the heap I already had in my clam basket. (In those days, every family had a clam basket made of oak wood, just like the lobster traps. As a matter of fact, sometimes we could find old busted-up traps washed on the beach and reuse the slats.)
The sun was just setting, about ready to drop below the horizon. It was bright orange against dark streaks of purple clouds. It looked like a scoop of orange sherbert on top of an ice cream cone!
I was on the other side of Shore Rocks, which you can only see when the tide is low. They are almost completely covered at high tide. I was a little distracted since my stomach was rumbling for supper, and I knew that my mother would have clam chowder, Goose Rocks style, waiting for me. But even though I was hungry and my bare feet were cold, a splashing sound made me turn toward Seal Rock. It was hard to see in the dusk, so I squinted and stared out to sea. I saw a pearly white shape on the rocks that seemed very different than the seals that usually basked there during the day.
That is when I saw her, so beautiful and mysterious! She was neither young nor old--not a woman and not a fish! Her flapping tail had caused the splashing sound that I heard. The movement made it shimmer, reflecting the low light off the water onto her silver scales. It was all so magical, I could hardly believe my eyes. I thought I was dreaming! I remember that I just dropped my heavy clam basket onto the wet sand, and sat rather uncomfortably on the handle. I had forgotten all about dinner; I just wanted to keep watching. I couldn’t get any closer because the water was too deep, and the tide was turning.
I thought maybe it was an albino seal, or at least that is what my logical mind wanted to think. I couldn’t see too well, because Seal Rock was almost 100 yards from where I was on the beach. I was kind of hiding behind one of the taller boulders. I didn’t want to disturb her for fear she would disappear. I was peeking out, peering at the lovely apparition, when I suddenly saw her turn my way, almost as if I had called her name! I got a good look at her human-like face, and her flashing red hair that swirled just above her shoulder top.
I didn’t think she was scared--she had her head up too much to be scared. But she was very serious, looking around and looking around as if to watch against an enemy sneaking up on her. In the waning light of evening, her eyes sparkled. I seemed caught up in a magical moment, and I didn’t want it to end
I was still as a little chipmunk. The truth is, I could hardly breathe! She finally flip-flopped her way from stone to stone, to the very edge of the water. I knew the water was about 15 feet deep right there. I could show you on the map, or the aerial photograph that hangs in my room, because Seal Rock is just about at the center of all the Goose Rocks.
She dove into the cold night water and silently slipped away,