Every year at the beach we search for strawberries in the sand. One of us will return from a long walk on the beach and announce, “I found six strawberries!” The others of us will admire the find and tell the lucky finder how pretty the strawberries are. Each day more of us will search and find our strawberries and we’ll talk about whose is the pinkest or which has its wings intact.
Strawberries in the sand are actually calico scallop shells and the “wings” are technically called ears. I’m not sure how the shells came to be known to us as strawberries but I can guess it’s because of the red, maroon, or rose colors found on most of them. However the “strawberry” name happened, it stuck. We even call the black scallops, “black strawberries”.
We throw the barnacle-encrusted strawberries back into the waves and continue our hunt. Our favorite strawberries are deep purples or vibrant pinks with no holes and both wings. If the colors are especially beautiful or unique enough, then holes and wings make no difference.
We’ve been calling them by the name for so long we forget that others don’t know about it. A newcomer to our beach gathering gives strange looks when we talk about searching for strawberries on the beach.
It’s just one of our things. Like chocolate gravy on Christmas Eve and stargazing in the back of a pickup on hot August nights, gathering stalks of cotton from the fields in October, or The Sound of Music the day after Thanksgiving.
Every family has those things.
What are some of yours?
I watch the moms on the beach slather their kids with sunscreen. Some moms use a gentle, nurturing touch when rubbing the lotion on the kids’ backs, little arms, faces and even tops of the ears. Other moms do it like they’re covering a piece of brisket with a special rub recipe. As thoroughly and efficiently as possible.
If Mom had used sunscreen she’d been one of the brisket moms. I never knew sunscreen existed when I was a kid. Maybe Mom didn’t either. On beach vacations we swam and played all day in the scorching Florida sun until our energy ran out and our baked bodies needed food. My face and shoulders always burned the worst. My face hurt but not like my shoulders. Every movement meant my shirt rubbed against my tender, red skin and this made trying to sleep miserable. My sisters and I lay there, legs wide apart, arms spread away from our bodies because we didn’t want any part of our bodies touching any other part of our bodies.
But the burn wasn’t enough to keep us out of the sun the next day. We wanted to be back in the water so Mom slipped a large t-shirt over our bathing suits. This provided no protection for our faces but at least our shoulders and chest didn’t re-burn.
By the time I was wise enough and old enough to rub my own body down with sunscreen I opted for baby oil instead. This fair skinned, freckled, strawberry-blond haired chick was going to be as tan as the rest of the girls in high school. Only I wasn’t and never would or could be. But I tried. As a young adult I paid to lie in a hot bed of tanning bulbs that turned my skin only slightly golden.
Thankfully at some point, I accepted my fair skin. I appreciate it and and care for it now.
I’m more efficient than I am thorough and I lose track of when to reapply sometimes.
After my beach trip last year, a friend asked me, “I thought you were going to the beach?” After I told him we were there for a week, he said, “Oh, you don’t look like you got much sun.”
I guess I’m more thorough than I think.
It looks like nature had a party and pink confetti was part of the fun. The sun, shadows, and scattered crepe myrtle flowers create a colorful walkway to the front door in the spring.
And all of it makes it beautiful…..the tiny flowers, the bright sunshine, and even the shadows.
Without the shadows, the sun wouldn’t be so……..sunny.
“I don’t think people care about the sunsets as much as we do.”
That’s what my youngest daughter said to me last night.
I remember thinking something similar when I was a young girl. I was fascinated with whatever I saw when I looked up at the sky and I wondered why no one else talked about it. Couldn’t they see? The colors the sun painted the sky when it filtered through the clouds in the evenings. Or the bright full moon on a winter’s night. Didn’t they notice the way the clouds gathered angrily before a thunderstorm?
And the stars and rainbows and the way lightning streaked across the sky sometimes when there was no storm at all.
I hope I always look up at the sky……..in wonder……..of the One who made it all.
But when I am walking around in the world unaware of the beauty around me I pray that it gets my attention or even better…..that someone around me says, “Look”.
In response to the Daily Post’s Captivating.
I was sitting in one of my favorite spots this morning and noticed the sun shining onto the floor through the back door. I only noticed it because it’s the weekend and I was there on the love seat, sipping my 2nd cup
of coffee. On other days, I’m already at work by the time the sun comes through the grids on the door and makes this diamond shaped design on our bamboo floors.
But on the weekends I can sit and sip my coffee and read for as long as I like. I don’t have to be anywhere at a particular time. I move slower on these days……at soul-speed. The kind of pace that allows me to notice the way the sun is shining, and the leaves are changing, and the path the neighbor’s dog follows in the mornings. At soul-speed I can ponder things until they’re pondered out. At this pace I can have a nice long conversation with my husband and throw the ball with our dog for 30 minutes and make pancakes for the kids when they wake up.
At soul-speed, I catch up with myself.
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Beneath Your Feet.”
The beach is a favorite place. The place cleanses my soul. I slow down there. Breathe deeper there. I walk barefoot in the soft sand there. Rest, think, and play there.
Though the kids are older they still play in the sand. I do too.
I build a sandcastle or sculpt something each year. Last year I sculpted a happy sun and used seaweed for the sunglasses and shells for the smile. My kids loved this.
I did too.