Much to Do – Or Not Do – at the Beach


I headed to the beach one Sunday morning to enjoy group yoga, planning to meditate then do some journaling. Turns out I had mis-read the sign. It was scheduled for 10 a.m., not 11, and it was held at a school near the beach, not actually on the beach. So, I ended up alone on my yoga mat at the beach. Perfect for deep reflection and uninterrupted observation.

On my knees in a yoga pose, I realized there were dents and pockets in the ground.  What, from a standing position, had looked like a smooth, welcoming carpet of grass, was not so smooth when I got right down to it.  I also noticed that the water looked particularly muddy this morning with sheets of film, twigs and other plant parts floating on it. Yuck.

I was enjoying my little observations when the excited squeals of a small boy running toward the water startled me.  The boy splashed and laughed, bobbing up and down in pure bliss of the liquid playground.  He found unadulterated delight in the same river I had just condemned. I did not bother to tell the little boy’s father about the snakes in the water because I have warned people about snakes and jelly fish in this river before but they went in anyway.  Beside, I looked up water snakes on the internet and found that they are harmless. They avoid human contact.

The little boy ran up and down the sand bank, in and out of the water. He called his little sister to join him and she did for a while, squealing, running behind him.  He waded into the water up to his waist then waded further, up to his neck.

“Hey Dad, com eon in!” he yelled to his father.

“No! It’s uh, too wet!” his dad yelled back.

The little boy’s sister didn’t stay in the muddy water long, but he had himself a good time.  He ran to the area where I was sitting, discovering something in the sand.

“Don’t disturb the lady,” his dad told him.

“He’s inspiring me,” I said, smiling at the boy. “How old is he?” I asked.

Little Henry was six. He ran back in the water and played until his mother joined his Dad a few minutes later and it was time to go. He left the water, obviously refreshed.  As he bounced away with his family, a couple of birds flying low near the water caught my attention.  I got up and went to where I had tossed a portion of my breakfast – pieces of fresh star fruit I had bought for the first time, thinking I would try something exotic, and pieces of my blueberry muffin offered to keep me from consuming all the calories.  I was delighted to find that the birds had eaten it all.  Now, I was feeling as joyful as Little Henry.

I looked further down the stretch and noticed three women friends sunbathing.  I figured they probably would not be getting in the water either, but they would be refreshed by the sun and each other’s companionship.

I looked out to the water again and noticed a snake in the area where Little Henry had just been. I thought, “God’s protection is amazing.”

I looked around and noticed a man reclining on his sun deck, reading a newspaper. I thought, “It must be nice to live right here at the beach.” It would be nice, I guess, until the tide rises, too high.  But what if I could have a beach house, and a condo in a high-rise someplace where I could retreat at the first warning of a high tide.  A range of possibilities flowed.

I enjoyed journaling, observing nature and the people who soon filled the beach and park all around me. I did not get in the water, but left feeling refreshed none-the-less.

How does the water inspire you? Some of my friends like to jog around a lake, read on a pool deck, meditate on a beach. What do you like?


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