Sunday, August 12, 2012

For the beauty of the earth

This morning's beach walk was highlighted by a view of our adopted nest: N77 has hatched out, its content of baby sea turtles gone from the safety of the warm sand, launched on their journey to the sea. There's been a lot of this lately, as the nests of spring and summer hatch out under the watchful eyes of the scientists and staff and volunteers of the GTM Reserve.

This photo was shared with us by the team at the Reserve and shows a clutch of babies emerging from their nest just a few days ago. I imagine this is what the residents of N77 looked like: scrambling out of the sand, tiny front flippers frantically rowing in the motion that will keep them alive if they manage to reach the relative safety of the ocean. Of one thing I'm certain: we'll adopt a nest again next year. It's easy, inexpensive and more gratifying than I can say, knowing the dollars are going directly to the support of these very turtle babies, research to help them survive and stewardship of the location to which the geographic fidelity of their species will drive them to nest for untold generations.

There was another touch of magic in the day for us, as well, my dear old person and me, which came in the form of a memory, or maybe a prayer or a message. In the long summer days and evenings of his childhood when they were spent on these same miles of sand, his mother Helen, like us, combed the beach for the simple treasures of great Mother Ocean. Her favorites, he recalls, were the perfect spirals of the shells called cats' eyes, smooth and glossy as pearls to the touch of your fingers. These days, when we find one we exchange a fond glance and think or sometimes speak of our mothers. This morning as we walked along the surfline we passed a small family: mother, father, and small bright girl. "Hello," the dad hailed us, "Found anything today?" We waved and smiled, "Nothing today, but it's a nice day for it," and walked on. A few minutes passed before the small, bright girl caught up to us again. Her hair, strung with sea water and twinkling with sand,was fair as sunshine, her eyes a startling blue. She held out her hand to me and said very clearly, "I'd like to give this to you." She gave me a beautiful fragment of a cats' eye, her face solemn as church. "Well, thank you," I said, completely surprised. "Maybe I could give you one of my shark teeth, in trade? Would you like...?" She nodded and I gave her one of the small teeth I'd found. With a quick smile, she turned to catch up with her family. For a long moment, my dear old person and I looked at each other, thinking the same thoughts, saying nothing. I was thinking it felt like a tiny blessing, a reminder: We are present, children; all will be well. And I was thinking, "For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies; for the love which from our birth over and around us lies..."

I do hope your day has been touched in some way by the benediction of the beauty of the earth.