Heart of the Sea

I walked in the sand with my son…my son who at times seemed like he was just on the brink of adulthood. It was a teacher’s conference day and we had taken off for the California coast. I was researching the Snowy Plover for my book, Ari was re-energizing (it was his junior year in high school, for god’s sake).

The beach was secluded and we enjoyed the quietness of the day. I remembered all our other trips to the ocean when Ari was younger. He never feared the ocean, running at the crashing waves, his hands clenched into fists, daring the waves to touch him. Running away in a game of “tag…you’re it” with the ocean. Staying in the water until his skin was red with the cold; goose bumps covering his arms and legs. Today, he was more adult than child, and he calmly walked by the waves, not getting too wet. No fear, just at peace with the ocean and himself.

As the day came to an end and we started to head back, we walked through a pile of rocks gathered in a river inlet. My eyes were drawn to one, really a rather plain rock, but smooth and somewhat flat, thinking it would skip well across the ocean. As I held it, I noticed a small hole, in the shape of a perfect heart. I don’t know how it was formed, by some mysterious sea process, but I instantly thought of my husband and our 20+ years of marriage, and our son, an almost grown man walking straight and tall beside me. I felt one of those moments of peace that has occasionally shown up in my life, when I’m awake enough to see it. I slipped the rock into my pocket, silently thanking the sea for this gift, a symbol of the passing of time, and the recognition of the love we choose to have in our lives.

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