Jindo Sea-Parting: Week 1

Hunched over and nursing his weepy eyes, my brother turned his puffy red face in my direction. His forearms perched uselessly in front of him like a T-Rex. “I think someone is eating peanuts,” he said as he gasped for air. After scouting out the bus, I looked down at the bag he had given me earlier. Front and center was a delectable image of caramel-coated popcorn, while it’s trusty old friend, the peanut, was off to the right. “ARE YOU SERIOUS?” I shouted at my brother as I enumerated the packaging. “Do you know what a peanut looks like?”

Every year around March in Jindo, when the moon’s pull is the strongest, a hidden land bridge emerges from watery depths. Thankfully we made it to our destination since my brother had unwittingly packed his allergy medicine. A few hours after arriving the tide had visibly fallen and hearty women were busy excavating the exposed seabed. On shore, an entrepreneur had set up a makeshift food stall on the rocks. She squatted on the ground while chopping live octopuses and other delicacies. Observers crowded around her taking photos as she handed wriggling plates to her customers.

A whistle was finally blown and the crossing began. Against a foreground of Martian-esque rocks, people plied through the frigid water towards the land bridge.  The further out the path led into the water the more sea life one encountered. Black and scarlet starfish were so abundant, it almost became a chore to toss them back into the ocean. Small octopuses were less frequent and definitely a treat to hold.

A news crew filming the event asked my brother for an interview. Thrilled with the idea he quickly agreed and began answering questions. The reporter’s last query was, “Why do you think the sea parts?” With a smug look of certainty my brother responded, “I have heard some theories about the moon, but I ultimately think it is magical and can’t be explained by science.” Not quite little brother, not quite.

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