Every day walking the beach, I notice a lanky man with tattered trousers, silvery hair, and headphones. While scanning the shoreline, he searches for treasures beneath the sand’s surface. An attached mesh bag, with a small number of shiny metals, hangs from his hip. I often wonder, is he here for the tangible or the intangible?
He steadily swings his detector from side to side in a methodical planned pattern, dodging the movement of the tides. Our paths seem similar, as we both walk parallel to the water with our footprints leaving an imprint behind us. He scoops sand, while I soak in the stillness and serenity which soothes and settles my overactive mind and body.
Are we here for similar reasons?
There is temptation to tell him how my daily search takes me into different depths, for different types of treasures. A trove of truth into my existence and understanding of living. If I do, will he gawk at me behind his tinted eyeglasses and think I am a loon? Like the bleached seabird that looms overhead and makes a laughter-like cry over the crashing waves. As the tides zig and zag, the sand searcher strolls along the shoreline on a quest for a reward, with a spring in his step.
I think to myself, we must swap stories. I will explain to him how my daily walk on the beach is my tonic. A place to tame my thinker and refuel. This harmonious haven has become a window into my soul. A place for me to reconnect and reflect, not paramount for a palpable prize. Maybe this is true for the mysterious man who smiles at seagulls and allows seawater to tingle his bare toes.
In the breathtakingly beautiful moments walking along this sandy sea beach, I am roused with the imagery that surrounds me. When Mother Nature speaks, I listen. Her natural acoustics help empty my mind of muddled thoughts. Her winds enchant me. As pitches of sound vibrate through the fibers of my being, I embrace my own sense of space in her existence like the rhythmical manner of the ocean and currents of air whirling around me.
The sand-searcher may or may not be able to answer my inquiries. Since there will always be more questions than answers to last a lifetime, perhaps we could investigate together. My quest for the meaning of life’s significance will never end. However, it is in this endless exploration of myself and life, this walk and talk may offer me clues and guide me into the very essence of my being.
Tomorrow, I will tell the enigmatic man who hunts along dry sand about my precious prize tucked tight within me. How the wondrous waves and their power, as they ebb and flow, are teaching me to accept what I do not know. The sand man and I can discover together the mysterious nature of life, the chance of fate, and how the place we both inhabit can guide and beguile us.
The afternoon was peaceful and clear with a gentle sea breeze. I noticed him heading toward me as he smiled and said, “I see you here almost every day.” I nodded and without hesitancy, he exclaimed how scanning the shoreline is really a secondary outcome of his daily detecting. “Sand searching for me is a soothing and satisfying experience,” he states with excitement. As if he was reading my mind from previous encounters. I smiled with the euphoric enthusiasm of a child.
We immediately established ethereal gifts are truthfully the cache of riches we are in quest of. A shared fondness for the steely, shiny dolphins, who surface and splash. The expansive blue body of water in front of us wanting respect, as she whispers, “it is up to us to learn how to extract her power and convert it as our own.” The shattered shells sprawled along the jagged tideline, representing we are all part of a greater living whole, making us think deeper into our own existence.
Together we found assurance and agreed our most profound insights about life may be hidden deep down in the treasure trove of our souls, not scattered on the surface. It was at this moment, we sensed our truths. He repeated, “Never overlook what has been written in the sands of time.” My happy heart gave him a smile.
We agreed to chat again. As he scoured the sand with his metal sensor and hefty headset, I walked away in an energetic manner. Reciting another one of his remarks, “How life at times has a way of numbing and hardening our souls, if we allow it.” Now it was the spirit of humanity smiling.
I never want to forget to feel. Flashes of serendipitous magic occur when I strip down and be honest with who I am. I have learned to step outside of the person I’ve been and remember the person I am meant to be, the person I am capable of being, and the person I am today. This is my lucrative find, thanks to the steadfast sand-searcher named Walter.
My new friend helped me understand the importance of self-discovery. In silence, I shout, “Thank you.” This outdoor playground continues to be serotonin for my soul. A spiritual experience between me and myself within the soundscape of nature and those who occupy it.
© March 2017 Shannon Hogan Cohen