As I visit the beach more frequently, I notice not only the ebb and flow of the tide, but also, the ebb and flow of what washes ashore from the ocean. One day, dainty purple dwarf olive shells are plentiful, then a couple days later, mussels with their iridescent interiors or Bodega tellins with their pretty splashes of apricot (reminding me of angels’ wings) make their appearance in multiple numbers. Some days, an abundance of frosty sea glass and porcelain shards, their edges softened by the surf, are scattered across the sand. Other days, sand dollars, some so tiny you barely notice them, dot the shoreline.
On Monday, our daughter and I enjoyed a brief walk along the beach between the bus stop and home, a little respite before homework, dinner and our typical weekday evening routine. There wasn’t a single trinket to be found. Instead, the beach was festooned with assorted seaweeds. It looked as though a giant sea salad had been tossed ashore along with twiggy clusters, looking like the ocean's version of tumbleweeds. My "treasure" of the day that afternoon? Spotting a couple dolphins in the bay!
On Thursday, I met a best friend to walk along this same stretch of beach...the landscape had changed. Seaweeds were still abundant along the shoreline and in the surf as well, creating deep spinach green waves, but sprinkled into the mix was an interesting assortment of shells, sea glass and sand dollars along with an occasional curio including a shark egg case (what we believe to be so) and an unusual skull (bird or mammal, we weren’t sure?)
This ebb and flow, an appreciation for a fascinating, ever changing landscape, the anticipation and surprise of discoveries awaiting…being in tune with the fluctuating rhythms of the shore surfaces from visiting the beach often enough to become aware of them. I'm committed to enjoying a beach walk on a regular weekly basis, placing this as a top self-care priority equal in importance to responsibilities on my to do list. I no longer consider this a frivolous activity, but rather a necessary activity for my well-being. I may not always find the typical treasures of shells, sea glass or driftwood, but what I find every time my feet touch the sand are bliss, peace and centeredness. What better "treasures?!" The beach is where my soul is happiest and my heart is most content, and a happy soul and content heart are healthy contributions to mind and body.
Where do you find your bliss? May you spend time in places that bring happiness to your soul and contentment to your heart!