Impermanence

I didn’t watch the news last week. I didn’t even read a newspaper. I counted stars rather than COVID cases. I listened to sea birds squawk and argue over ghost crabs rather than political rantings from opposing parties. I was fortunate to stay in a house on the ocean for a week. My news came from the mindful moments that pass too quickly by the sea.

I saw seven sunrises from the same spot, yet no two were alike. As the sky lightened enough to erase the stars, I’d go out on the deck and wait for the sun. Some days, the clouds blanketed, like a pillow,  trying to smother the morning beneath the horizon.  But the sun always won. First the clouds blushed red, then the colors bled through, painting the sky with reds, yellows and pinks.

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At night, I’d sit on the deck, listening to the waves roll in, as the breezes shook the sea oats on the dune tops. The stars were scattered like seeds across the sky. More stars appeared, to pierce the darkness, the longer I gazed upward. One night I watched a shooting star disappear into a cloud. I was so awed, I forgot to make a wish.

My days were spent on the beach, watching. Dolphins, pelicans, seagulls, and clouds. The waves set the cadence for the week. Waves roll in bringing rocks and shells, roll back out smoothing the sand, leaving a clean slate for footprints and sandcastles. Each wave reveals a new moment. I’m mindful of the impermanence and my old mantra…this too shall pass. Sometimes the hard times don’t pass too easily, but my rough perspective does. And sometimes, the good times don’t last long enough. I collect them like sea glass so I can reflect on them and smile. Impermanence.

I spent part of my days cloud watching. Chubby white clouds proved unreliable at predicting the weather but were perfect for lazy day dreamers and provided fleeting respite from the sun. The ocean breezes moved them quickly across the sky and I laughed as the fire breathing dragon shape shifted into a poodle. Impermanence.

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I spent a lot of time walking in the surf, awed at the footprints a tiny Sandpiper can make. They create beautiful patterns as they scurry along the edges of the waves searching for food. On one walk, I saw a rainbow reflected in the wet sand. It was in the sky, behind me, but the image was in front of me. Nature’s watercolor, erased by the foamy surf, only to reappear when the tide went out. Impermanence.

I saw some beautiful creations built in the sand. The “artist” spent hours sculpting them, only to let the tide reclaim them each night. Impermanence.

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The breaking news of the week came from the loggerhead sea turtle nest on the beach in front of our house. I didn’t see the turtle lay the eggs, but I can imagine the difficult journey she made to flipper herself so far from shore to lay the eggs. A fox disturbed the nest and devoured a belly full of eggs but left enough for some devoted volunteers to monitor each evening. They placed a wire cage over the nest to deter the fox. On the third night, movement was detected under the sand, so the hatchlings were dug up and carried in a bucket to the water’s edge. I watched them determine across the sand and disappear into the surf. I learned that they swim all the way to the Caribbean, but sadly only one in one thousand will make it to adulthood.

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I survived a week without “real” news and am grateful for the respite. I feel refreshed, centered and hopeful. We missed you bunches D Man.  I’m thankful that my cousin was available to stay here with  you. Someday I’d like to take you to the shore.  You would enjoy the smells of the beach, but the sand would be way too hot and soft for a dirt loving hound. Late fall or early winter might be more suitable. Maybe early November. Perhaps the week before the election.

Impermanence.

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