I recently took myself on a short retreat to the beach. It’s where I go to think, or get focus. I recharge listening to the roar of the surf. The sound of the surf on the Oregon Coast is decidedly different than the sound of the ocean in my favorite place on earth: Hawaii.
Want to see what I mean? Have a gander at this. This is shot entirely around Shore Acres State Park nearby Coos Bay, Oregon, where I grew up.
At any rate, I went to the coast. In the early(ish) morning, I took a long walk on the beach. I like to walk along and write in the sand. Not the “Jimmy loves David” kind of writing – I like to write something a bit longer. So I stroll along, and every little while I put a few words down. You can take them individually, or you can string them all together. I have no idea if anyone ever walks after me and reads along, but I hope they do. If not, no harm. I write just far enough up the beach that the words are sure to be gone within a couple of hours.
So, I wrote this as I walked along:
After my turn at Sandy Affirmations, I came across a rarity. A full sand dollar! Perhaps you’ve never tried to find one of these, or perhaps you live near a beach where they are easy to find. For me, I think it’s the first one I’ve ever found. It was a beautiful, deep grey and burgundy, with that perfect antique-looking star on its top. I scooped it up as a keepsake, thrilled with my good fortune.
…. And then as I walked along, I realized…
It must still be alive.
I Googled it, and there’s a simple way to tell if it’s still alive. If it still has its velvety underside, it’s probably alive. I turned it over and there it was: velvety skin. It wasn’t much of a dilemma: I turned around, walked directly into the surf, and put it back. *Maybe* it had already died, but I wasn’t taking any chances.
I put it back, happy to have seen this rare creature alive, but a bit sad that I hadn’t really found a perfect keepsake.
The next day, the hunt began.
This beach is just lousy with carcasses. There are crab shells, clam shells, and broken sand dollars everywhere. Bunch of murderous terns and insatiable seagulls roam the beach like a gang of salt water thugs. So it’s a veritable graveyard of sea life. Clearly someplace on this beach, I was sure to find a full sand dollar.
I hunted for about a mile, finding nothing. And that’s when I realized how much this paralleled many things in my life. I had to find a “perfect, complete” sand dollar or it just wasn’t worth picking up. So I had walked and walked past all of these beautiful shells and none of them had measured up to this ridiculous standard in my head.
I picked this one up instead. I think it sends a better message to my brain.This keepsake reminds me of the day that I finally realized that I was waiting for too many things to be perfect. Or, waiting for some sign that something would turn out perfect before I even started.
It is still beautiful, perhaps even better for NOT being perfect.