Sunday, June 28, 2009

Shell Seeking

Tonight, as the sun was setting in the western sky behind the rows of hotels lining the coastline, First Born and I went walking on the beach in search of shells. This was his first shell quest and I was excited about the time spent with him alone while Little Sister had a late day nap with my Hero.

As I walked the beach I experienced fleeting memories of my own childhood trips to the east coast with my family. My earliest memory of the beach dates so far back in my brother is in diapers and I am afraid of the water as it pulls me towards deeper, dark water. Later, my fondness for the beach grew, especially the year we lived in North Carolina and made frequent trips to the coast.

I carry the large, purple bucket as I walk in the dense sand of a low tide with the gentle, warm waves lapping at my ankles. First Born scurries around after each piece of solid matter he spies as the waves roll back. I peer in the bucket to see what treasures he has found, pieces of childhood memory, priceless morsels from the ocean. The beauty he sees in a piece of broken, cracked, wave worn shell escapes me, and yet I allow the collection to build, adding weight to the bucket.

First Born’s eyes dart to and fro spying his treasures sitting on the top of the sand, uncovered by the receding waters. I realize he is only scratching the surface, finding only what the waves push across his path. I call him to my side, knowing he needs to know the treasure he can find if he digs deeper, getting below the surface.

I plow my toes into the sand, feeling the precious nuggets below. Lifting the sand, making a hole as I pull my foot free, a small wave sweeps across the spot drawing the sand away from the small shells which had been lodged below the surface of the sand. First Born scrambles to grasp each bit then looks up at me, his bright face questioning, “How did you know that mom?” Alas, I have no magic answer to give him, no secret bite of wisdom known by few and handed down the generations; I too was once a child on a quest for the perfect shell and learned through trial and error that the digging always brought the best to the surface.

As First Born dashes off to his own dig spots, seeking his own buried cache, I ponder our moment. Sweet child, how do I tell you all the most precious pieces are hidden under cover? We must never just take anything, anyone at face value, only seeing what the waves roll across our path. There is always something special, important, of value found below the surface. It may take more time to find, and sometimes we get dirty in the process, but the reward is worth taking the course to get there.

The bucket is filling more slowly now, First Born is taking more time and really looking at his pieces. And he is digging deeper, searching and finding absolute exquisiteness buried below the surface.

1 comment:

  1. Just stopped by to thank your for your sweet comment on my blog... but what a beautiful post I found here awaiting me on your blog.

    It made my heart SMILE!