Isn’t it funny how sometimes one thought just leads to another — one person sharing leads to more sharing in return?  I smiled yesterday when I read the blog entry of my new sister/friend, Queen Dani.  As I’m learning who she is, I’m discovering that we share some common interests.  In Circles of Rocks & Stones, she wrote about our shared affinity for rocks.  I must say it’s been wonderful to meet someone else who is able to hear the things they say.  Thank you, Dani, for speaking words that sound so familiar.

In her article, she also included a picture of a graceful starfish and some rocks, lying in the sand.  Turnabout is fair play, Queen Dani; and today I will take you to the place you brought to mind with that picture.  Come with me now and share:

A Gift From the Sea

It is my fervent belief that from time to time we are offered glimpses of eternity.  When my soul is attuned I see them everywhere, which would lead me to think that they always abound, whether we’re too busy to notice them or not.  I have learned not to share these glimpses with others, because they always seem to think that I read too much into mundane occurences.  Like a child who sees his first dandelion and offers it up as a gift, only to be told it’s a weed and have it thrown away, I’ve learned to keep the beauty I see in my world close to my chest.  The problem is that my pockets are full, and I have no room to take in any more miracles unless I empty them by telling a story or ten.  So, come with me to a beach in Florida, on the day after a storm has beaten the coast.  At low tide, I’ve learned, the beachcombing is best.  As the water recedes, and shells cling to the shore, they are visible for a few hours before the surf returns and claims them again.

Ever since the first time I held a shell to my ear as a small child, the ocean has spoken to me.  Maybe the soothing, rhythmic whoosh of the waves on the shore is reminiscent of time in the womb, with my mother’s heart whooshing as I floated in the sea that sustained me and brought me to my moment of birth.  As one who lives inland, my trips to the shore are infrequent and always filled with anticipation.  This day was no exception, and I could feel my heart begin to race with excitement as I left my car and began my sinking walk toward the firmer sand at the water’s edge.  I was a bit disappointed to see that the violence of the storm the previous day had crushed nearly every shell that lay on the sand.  No matter, though, since overcast skies and firmly-packed sand can make for a great place to walk and think.

Everywhere I looked, colorful pieces of broken shells glimmered on the gray-white sand.  Nothing worth collecting today, I thought, until I spied a snow-white rock.  It was just the size of the palm of my hand; and when I picked it up for a closer look, I could see that it had been formed by some tremendous force that had molded sand into stone.  Here and there on the surface were fossil rings with round clumps of sand-rock inside of them – spots where some long-ago sea animal had also been trapped and turned to stone.  Over years – who knows how many – the shells themselves had eroded away, leaving only rings where once they had existed.  Maybe this was worth keeping after all, I thought, as I tossed it in the air, turning it over for a look at the other side.  It was at that moment that a glimpse of something that once existed became, for me, a reminder that eternity knows no boundaries.

As I tossed the sea stone, a rattling noise emanated from deep inside it, and I realized that the rings I saw on the outside were only a glimpse of what lay deep in the core of this miracle of the sea.  I shook the stone, and it spoke:  “We were here!  Long before this day, we were the beach that you walk on and the shells that you love so dearly.  We were here!”  For a while, as I walked along the shoreline alone, I couldn’t get enough of shaking that rock and feeling the delight of being reminded of my part in eternity.  I couldn’t get enough of thinking that maybe, one day in a time yet to come, someone might find a trace of my life as well, and realize that she is not alone.