Longfellow’s account of an ocean, is my favorite. It sounds like music when read . I never see the ocean that I don’t think of “The Song of Hiawatha”. We were there on Wednesday, by that ” shining big sea water” and I remembered again that Longfellow was right.
Wrightsville Beach is about ten minutes from Brant’s house. The sand is white and feels like powder, there. The water is especially clear and on that day, a cool wind blew acrossed it. I watched Lyla play where the waves rolled up and became gentle, for a long while . Later I took a long walk. A little girl was collecting purple shells and I gathered a good many for her as I strolled along .
I loved hearing the sounds of children laughing and playing in that big sea water. I saw older couples walking hand in hand and young men on surf boards riding the waves in with the confidence that youth affords. It was beautiful. People are friendly at the beach and though it isn’t organized, we all watch out for the children-and help them find shells.
It is a humbling experience to walk by an ocean. I felt small, but not insignificant. An ocean is a mighty force, but I did not feel weak. Instead, I felt a great sense of comfort knowing that the Spirit that makes the moon rise over the ocean, also makes it rise over the rabbit patch-and over Africa and every place in-between. The crashing waves, splashing fountains and the still, hidden ponds in the woodlands are born by the same Hand and somehow, fear can not abide in me when I consider that -so the stroll does me good.
I returned to our “camp” with my pocket full of purple shells, to find Lyla in deep concentration, staring intensely at the shining big sea water. She was still and silent-quite a contrast to the liveliness around her. I have noticed this is a habit of very young children. They will stop in their tracks when they see a thing of beauty. Their heart recognizes authenticity -whether it be an army of ants , a feather or a pretty rock-things than man can not take credit for and I vow to never rush Lyla when she discovers such treasures.
The little girl with the bucket of purple shells was happy with my own collection. She pointed out how many different “kinds” of purple there were-and she was right.
When we left, the sand was so hot you couldn’t bear to move at a normal pace, even with shoes on. Still, I noticed the “Joe-bell” flowers blooming in spite of the harsh sun and there were some lavender flowers doing the same. We came home and finally finished the left-overs. Will, my son -in-law and heart, left as his vacation was now over. Brant went to work and Jenny had plans for dinner with friends. Lyla and I took a walk as the wind was unusually cool for July. Usually, Lyla rides in a stroller, but I thought she might enjoy walking as we had the time. She found every leaf and twig along the way. She examined them and then held them up for me to see too. We watched a pair of doves for a while and I showed her the moon.
I am realising more and more, that the universe does not “hide” it’s secrets of happiness. There is no great hunt rewarding only a favored sect of the human race. One does not have to be a warrior nor the swiftest to win the prize. The treasure is not buried in a remote corner of the earth with a secret map,but is strewn about, in rocks and hills, in trees and sky and on the shore by the shining big sea water- and it may sometimes look like little shells in various shades of purple.