I am laying here with a jellyfish sting fading on my left foot, thinking about the speed of responses and reactions.
I was in the ocean off the coast of south carolina with family when one of the babies shouted out in pain and dismay and started trying to run away from their body. something that felt like a bunch of needles had touched them in multiple places. before long several of us had experienced it and realized it was likely jellyfish. in a moment of humor that feels very me, i was mid-sentence casting a protection spell around us, and as i spoke the word “tentacle”, one wrapped around my wrist and i descended into curses.
We got out of the water.
Some research showed that in august and september this is common, all kinds of jellyfish can be in these waters, and a particular jellyfish called a sea nettle will be mating and traveling in massive numbers called blooms. storms and winds bring them into shore where they tumble with sea grass and get left on the morning sand. the sting faded after about fifteen minutes, leaving a tentacled cluster of redness on the skin.