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A midnight beach stroll

I’m on vacation in Florida with my Mom, and we are visiting my Uncle at his condo down here. So far the trip has been great. We got rained out today, and I wondered if the storm and the waves would have swished any treasures up onto the beach. It’s hard to find intact shells here. There is a beach Zamboni (a tractor with a huge rake on it) that combs the beach every morning, ruining any chance of finding anything cool. So I thought that if went out at night after the storm and the waves, but before the Zamboni, I might have a better chance for success.

I set out with a tiny, but bright flashlight that Mom gave me, and began walking the beach. I came upon a lot of flotsam. Leaves, dead seaweed, and tons of sea-bubble-froth that is created when waves filled with pollutants crash against the sand over and over. Needless to say, it was not exactly a magical walk. It was a little bit gross. And kind of scary.

I scanned the sand with my flashlight, hoping to see a crab scuttling along, or perhaps a mother turtle making it’s way to lay it’s eggs. Maybe I would see a beached dolphin that I could help back into the water! Clearly, I have been watching too much TV, and had expectations that were ridiculously too high.

At last, after a few hundred meters of gunk, I stumbled upon a shell. It was common, but intact. It looked like it had a hole for a piercing that someone ripped it out. I brushed off the sand and pocketed it.

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Inspired by this find, and like a gambler fueled by a 300-coin win at the penny slots, I trudged on. The waves began crashing harder against the sand, pushing sandy water and flotsam over my feet. I began to walk higher on the sand. With my little flashlight swinging back and forth to reveal potential goodies, I walked, and walked, and walked.

Aha! Another shell! I turned it over on the sand. It looked relatively nice, except all of the pearlescent colouring had been worn off by time and tide. I brushed it off and walked on, hoping for something bigger and better.

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It wasn’t long before if came across the next marker on my tour-de-beach.

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I found this overzealous fish, who swam too far with the waves. He asked a friend for directions and went left instead of right. With the few last flips of his fins, he realized that the ocean was the other way, but it was too late. This is definitely the prettiest dead fish I have ever seen. Fresh carcasses, in my opinion, are the best carcasses. Remember that life lesson.

Somewhat discouraged by the lack of sea-shelly goodness, I decided not to walk too much further. But, like a hungry three-year-old who finds a moist candy in the dirt and pops it victoriously into their mouth, I put my flashlight to work and kept looking for more. My second last find is what encouraged me to walk that little bit further to find the most unexpected “brought-in-by-the-waves-treasure”.

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This little dune buggy was being pushed around on the beach by a young, Norwegian boy who was making a badly shaped sand castle by the surf. Jørgen looked up for a moment when his mother called him, and a crab snatched the dune buggy from his hand and ran away. For weeks, the giant crab, named Lars, could be seen holding the dune buggy in his pincers and driving it along the beach. Several tourists and locals tried getting it away from him with no luck. Eventually, Lars was caught off guard by a pelican, named Elvis. When Lars opened his pincers in surprise, the dune buggy was whisked away in the waves, only to resurface after the storm.

I definitely think that’s exactly how the dune buggy got there. Roll with it.

Charged up by the dune buggy score, and sure that I was going to find something spectacular soon, I adventured on (yes, that’s a word, I have decided!).

The waves crashed. The sea air filled my nostrils. Somewhere, a lone gull cried out, because he was out past dark and had lost his way home. My footsteps gently pushed the sand aside as I walked on. All of a sudden, my flashlight revealed a large lump in the sand ahead. My heart leapt – A GIANT CONCH SHELL?! As I stepped closer, I saw…

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This last beach “treasure” I came across was completely from left field. I’ve heard the saying about rats fleeing a sinking ship, but I didn’t think it actually happened. I guess this guy just didn’t make it. Or girl… Is that a nipple? I took the time to crouch down near him (or her, as the case may be) and take not one, but two photos. You never know what angle might work best.

Needless to say, that was the point at which I gave up. I walked hurriedly in the dark back across the beach, trying to avoid stepping on any broken shells that might stab my feet or anything worse I could step in. And you now know what I saw on my midnight beach stroll, so you can only imagine what else I worried that i might discover by stepping in it.

I stopped once to put my feet into the water and feel the waves on my ankles and the sand between my toes. I took a moment to breathe in the ocean air, to enjoy the peaceful waves and the quiet, empty beach.

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I’d say that all-in-all, the midnight beach stroll was a success.

Late late Friday

Ahh, what a long week. To end it off (perhaps you’re reading this on the weekend, or maybe Monday!) here are some photos that I took recently. Click the images to enlarge them!

Noah's rock
Noah's rock
Watertire
Watertire
Rocky beach
Rocky beach
Blue moss
Blue moss
The kid - boston terrier puppy
The kid *LOVE*

Photos from Paradise

Welcome to this week’s photo post! I have photos from the paradise of Aruba, and a few from the paradise that is my home! Most of the photos are of super fun flora, but I have included some landscapes and some interesting fauna that I met on my adventures! Don’t forget to click on the images to enlarge them and see more detail 🙂

Aruba bus signage
A sign on the bus in Aruba. If you look closely at the 4th symbol in the second row, you will notice that riding with your arms in the air is prohibited!
Wishing rocks on the coast of Aruba
Wishing rocks on the coast of Aruba - people who come here build a statue and make a wish...
Seaweed pod
A seaweed pod we found on the beach. It had a hard outer shell and was virtually hollow. Kinda looks like an alien egg!
Holes in the volcanic beach
Holes in the volcanic beach
Tidal spray
Tidal spray
Fernando the hermit crab
Meet Fernando the hermit crab! We found him (and hundreds of his brothers and sisters) chilling on the rocks!
Volcanic succulents
Volcanic succulents
Beautiful flowers found on a hike in Aruba
Beautiful flowers found on a hike in Aruba
The first bloom from my mini orchid - from my paradise at home!
The first bloom from my mini orchid - from the home Paradise!

The tidal wave and keeping your private pond…

Have you ever experienced an overwhelming tidal wave of happiness, of love, of laughter – some feeling that is fantastic? One day you might be sitting at home or in your car having a mediocre day and something – a song, a smell, a memory – washes over you causing you to feel overwhelming fantastic stuff… This also works with bad stuff too, but this is about the good stuff.

I was thinking of this “tidal wave” of super cool fantasticness that washes over you – like an ebb and flow – it washes in and over you, pushing you over into a smile, a laugh, or a chest that is bursting with love… but that tidal wave inevitably flows out again and you go back to feeling mediocre. Or worse, you get caught in a rip tide and get pulled under into the negative effect of the tidal wave! It’s terrible when the happiness ebbs and you feel worse than you did before the fantasticness because now it is gone…

Lately I’ve been digging a trench on my proverbial beach. Each day I work hard to make it deeper and deeper. When a wave comes in – it washes over the beach in my mind. I feel the rush of happiness or love or emit a belly laugh that resonates throughout me, filling me up. As the wave flows back out of the beach, I’m left with a little pond of residual happiness in my trench that I can dip into and be refreshed whenever I want. Every day I work harder and harder at digging this trench deeper and deeper – and it’s not easy work keeping my happy trench nice and deep! Every time a tidal wave comes in, it takes some of my trench out to sea with it… but if I keep it deep enough – if I keep working daily at my happiness trench – then I’ll always have a little pond and prevent the tidal wave from coming in and washing my pond away completely 🙂 That’s how my beach used to be – no pond, the waves always taking back what they had given to me and eroding my beach away. And sometimes the waves were few and far between.

What I mean by this is that life, happiness, love… everything takes hard work every day. It’s easy to let things slide – to get so busy that we don’t take care of ourselves. It’s easy to get complacent, and think that we are ok without any work. We forget about making a conscious effort to maintain ourselves every day. How do I keep my trench dug every day? Lately, I’ve been practicing meditation daily. Not only that but I try to do a drawing once a day, and take some photos (for my blog!). These daily practices help keep my trench dug deep enough to catch and keep a little private pond of happiness, no matter how big the wave or the ensuing rip tide…

Many people don’t feel like they have time for a simple daily practice that keeps your proverbial beach in check. It’s hard work! But 15 or 20 minutes of self time a day can go a long way; Roller blading, meditating, being creative, and amongst it all – making sure that you are OK and constantly cleaning house within yourself 🙂 At the end of the day – all you have is you, so take care of yourself!

I love the waves that come in and wash over me, and the feelings that come along with them. But it’s an amazing asset to have that little pond every day, no matter what.

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