The Sand And The Sea

At the edge, between sand and sea.

The best place in the world is that twelve-foot space between high tide and low tide on Long Island’s north shore. I grew up spending hours in the sand at water’s edge honing my engineering skills (digging tunnels, building castles, mining cool pebbles) and engaging with interesting friends (snails, crabs, and minnows). Playing in the tide meant instinctively changing position to deal with constantly changing wind and water. I spent hours enchanted with my industry and was still aware of my surroundings. A young one could run, wiggle, mumble, talk at the top of one’s voice, carry water in a pail and spill lots of it. At the beach no one tells you to “use walking feet”, “speak up”, “use your inside voice”, “put that down”, or “wipe your feet”. Anything can happen in that messy edge between sand and sea.

The antidote to almost any land-locked sort of weariness is a return to where I first felt curious, exhilarated, filled with wonder, and in charge. My remedy for discouragement is simple. Get to the beach. Walk to the water’s edge. Inhale deeply. Watch the tide sweep in and erase the evidence of a day’s activities. Stay until the tide goes out, a smooth blank canvas revealed. All elements are the same. All surfaces are new. Everything is possible.

Sometimes I can’t get to the beach; I take that healing breath wherever I can. Gazing at Royston turquoise gives me a thrill of enchantment and discovery. Check out the brilliant river of blue-green coursing through a matrix of metamorphosed sediment. Maybe you see a verdant island floating in a host of chert or limestone. Look closely. Inspect the mineral edges, a little fuzzy, a little irregular. Imagine there a tiny world, full of promise.

Meet my long-time friend, the snail. Or rather, the fossilized shell of an ancient mollusk. Time and perfect geological conditions lined this humble shelter with a divine blanket of natural druzy. And speaking of primordial crustaceans, if you like your edges a little more mathematical, you’ll love fossilized ammonite. An ancestor of our beloved nautilus, these shells were minerally preserved over 65 million years ago. The size of the coiled chambers increases incrementally with geometric precision, an enduring symbol of change and positive motion.

So, take a deep breath. Put on your favorite Royston turquoise ring or druzy necklace. Keep a tiny world of magic and potential close to your heart and remember where you first felt that you could do anything.