Written on Amelia Island, FL beach on Feb 23, 2017
It's a day of wild winds and roiling sea, here on America's Atlantic coast in the Northeast corner of Florida, in sight of the St. Mary's River at the head of our beach, separating Florida from Georgia.
Molly and I walked as usual today down the beach, the sun still shining from the south, with a full wind at our backs. I'm not exactly a "strider" as I scramble to keep up with Molly, our "Hiking Master" newly turned 86, rejoicing in every element about us.
A thousand steps down the beach we sat in the shelter of a dune and first looked at the sea, and the remarkable surf it had stirred. Sun glistened on the rollers - white caps could be seen all the way to the horizon. It was stormy weather, but with sunshine. A few little sandpipers braved the wind and waves and scampered in the narrow wash of the surf, and gulls successfully swooped north into the wind.
Most of our fellow walkers were hunched as they turned northward, facing the wind. Partly to protect eyes and mouth, but instinctively to look down at the sand, or out at the turbulent water.
They stooped to pick up shells, a glorious treasure of them having been brought to shore in the all-night pounding surf. Our daughter-in-law's expertise in shark's teeth, most a thousand years old, browned by the water and those years under the sea. They are a treasure to her. She "has the eye" so many don't. There's a way they tend to lie in the sand that experts like Haseena know.
The rest of us content with shells--pure white, purple, brown and pink, all different, but graceful with swirl of their lines on their outer shell.
Something seems wonderful about these people from the north, walking beaches of the south to spy out treasures of nature God has put before them. They are slowed down. They are paying attention to very small things. And they are finding pleasure, a wonder, on beautiful things they haven't yet deemed to take time for on their streets.
How good for the soul it is, to slow down, and pay attention to small things.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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