Diamond in the Rough Unexpected
Note: This is a blog short in a continuing series “Seashell Philosophy by She” of philosophical reflections during visits to the seashore…
Beautiful day. The waves coming in from the Atlantic Ocean on the coast of Juno Beach were full of season-changing strength yesterday as the sun warmed our skin comfortably in the cool breeze.
My children and I arrived at the ocean with leftovers from our Easter holiday the day before. After a busy day we came to the beach with my personal intention of laying on the blanket and doing close to nothing while the kids played in the sand and ate to their heart’s content out of the cooler I’d packed.
One of my offspring suggested that we walk the stretch of shore down to the Juno Beach pier and back to the Loggerhead portion where we had camped. What I thought might be a shell-picking expedition resulted in in nearly 10 pounds of trash that I picked up as we walked with a grocery plastic bag.
Thankfully by walking with children I was exposed to the enduring and forgiving quality of their imaginative skills despite the sad reality of the litter circumstances–I was simmering with anger inside as I encountered bottles, cans, cigarette butts and even toothbrushes amongst other items of refuse along an otherwise glittering blue dance of water and shimmering sand that gripped our feet and legs with longing for relaxation.
Admittedly, I was so consumed by my judgement and disdain for the nameless straw people in my mind that had the audacity to trash our beach that I only was partially listening to and subsequently nodding affirmatively at my son’s declarations over the various shells or shark teeth he was “finding” as we walked along. Never mind that he was merely picking up sparse pieces of shell or rock shards that resembled whatever his thoughts could name.
Halfway down the shoreline to the pier we stopped to sit at a perch of sand where the tide had eroded a small cliff that rose in height from the water’s edge to my waist–most fun for little kids to run up and down as long as there’s no roped-off area preserving a sea turtle’s nesting site. Absently-minded I announced to my son that you never know what treasure you can find when you stop for a moment to sift through the place you’re in as we put our hands into the steep rise to feel through any tiny shells or rocks.
Again, he kept chirping to me that he was finding shark teeth as I continued to nod and murmur “uh-huh” as I watched my other child dancing through the small dunes and plants therein behind us. Then I felt a nudge on my left arm and looked down at my persistent little one as he showed me the finds moment-by-moment, one of them catching my eye as I instinctually grabbed it out of his hand and looked at it closely–a shiny, dark grey shark tooth smaller than a dime. Incredible!
I couldn’t believe it, he’d actually found a real shark tooth in a massive pile of sand with no outward signs of hope for such a find. There were no shell beds like the kind that show up after the high tides leaving high possibilities of fun discoveries. This was literally just the kind of sand formation that evidently on this day only had high yields of human garbage nestled along its grooves and flats.
The truly sobering hit though came when my son asked me why I hadn’t believed that he would actually find a shark tooth–also alluding that why had I not considered that his prior declarations were true as well. Ah, parent finds herself caught in her own act of lying by omission of responding in gentle truth–but I was so excited over this amazing shark tooth he had pulled out of nothingness that I decided to focus on telling him that although his other finds certainly resembled shark teeth, this one truly was the real deal.
How many times do we dismiss the possibilities of finding precious items among the mundane and written-off places? Sometimes the most life-changing or affecting moments transpire when we’re on the common path or going through the motions of mindless daily activity. More often than not we also fail to recognize the person beside us for who and what they are because we’re too busy listening to our own thoughts on the matter.
In my tiny slice of the universe yesterday I learned a humbling lesson–where I thought there was no way we’d find a shark tooth even with my maternal advice coming out of my mouth about treasure finds, I didn’t actually believe it. I was proved wrong and learned a few additional lessons that I’m happy to include in my Seashell Philosophy by She collection as I continue to add other blog shorts.
Enjoy the treasure hunt of life!