I walk along water’s edge, inhaling the salty air, feet pressing into damp sand, just out of the Pacific’s chilling reach.
Sandy, my yellow lab, cavorts, runs on ahead. I see her roll and fear she’s found something dead, a seagull perhaps, or a seal. Broken shells by the hundreds cascade down the beach, littered white across the sand. They could be bodies, I think – I’m a mother and therefore, morbid.
They could as easily be two-ton pieces of redwood, trunks and roots tumbled downstream, washed ashore, somehow made weightless in the ocean’s grip. They could be corpses, I think again, like the porpoise I found just days ago, eye and blowhole chewed away, such a small thing at water’s edge, dwarfed by the tangled chunks of driftwood piled near. In not one of the ocean’s moods does it care.
But they are shells, a pale and glistening path, shattered like dreams, like hearts, but still lovely in their remains.
Then, like heroes of an amazing survival story, several sand dollars lie intact among the wreckage. I gather them up.
I admire the beach rocks made pretty by the water’s touch, think how small children would view them as treasure and because I am a mother, so do I.
I walk, sand dollars jangling in my pocket, my day suddenly awash in riches.