We’re in the middle of a pandemic, some of us locked down, others staying at home. Some just had a massive snowstorm, others had serious rains. We could all use a beach walk. So let’s go.
The tide is almost all the way out, so there’s plenty of sand to walk on. But the sun seems to be struggling to escape the low clouds, so we might not get that gorgeous sunrise today. That’s OK, it will come another day.
The rainstorm here yesterday stirred up the ocean a LOT so there are dozens and dozens of these sea stars on the sand. I can’t resist taking some photos of them “as is” on the sand. The surf has an artistic bent, it seems.
A lot of kelp and seaweed was uprooted by that same storm. I rarely see it on this beach but today are half a dozen chunks scattered around. I waited for the surf to gently caress this one.
And then, the BEST part of any beach walk for me, the pelicans. These three were so close I thought they might hear me calling to them. They soared on, heedless of my greeting. Pelicans are like that.
Why do I love pelicans so much? They are beautiful flyers. Just look at how close to the waves they get, and they can keep that distance for several seconds. I know they’re just doing what pelicans do, but to me, it’s always an amazing thing to watch. Seeing pelicans makes today’s beach walk that much more perfect.
Look, way out there, beyond the range of my iPhone camera: two dolphins surfacing once, twice, then a third time before they dive deep and I don’t see them again. Not every day you see dolphins from this beach.
Soon enough, the cold wind drives me back to my warm trailer, where I go through my photos and empty my jacket pockets of the treasures I’ve picked up.
None of my finds are more cool than this whelk egg casing. The mama whelk fastens the egg casing to the ocean bottom using that string-like thing you see at the left end. When the tiny baby whelks, no bigger than your smallest fingernail, are ready to be born, they make holes and escape into the cold, dark waters of the big ocean.
Some of those little whelks survive to adulthood, and then they repeat the cycle, making their own egg casings to carry on the line. There’s a lesson in that somewhere. I’ll let you decide what it is for you.
For one thing leads to another.
Soon you will notice how stones shine underfoot.
Eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in.
Mary Oliver (To Begin With, The Sweet Grass)