Nature Speaks

Ever taken a beach walk? I ask because for those who haven’t it’s nearly impossible to understand how interactive it can be. The one thing about a beach walk that I particularly enjoy is the unplanned nature of a walk. Sure, there are the tides to consider, my beach being best walked at low tide. And there are the weather conditions which often affect clothing, hats, sunglasses or even beverage choices. And, once strolling you never know what the ocean has washed up so each step in the sand is a like a mellow surprise treasure hunt.

The sand where the waves are most active contains all sorts of dynamic materials from shells, to grasses, to seaweed, to dead or dying starfish, to any number of oddities that can float or be caught in a tide. This is an active canvas and it’s like watching nature play while art is arranged and then rearranged all around your feet. The hunt becomes something you might fancy on that particular walk. If you find a piece of sea glass then that may become your hunted object. Likewise, there may be a particular type of shell that the southerly winds have stirred up. It might be a shell uncommon on the beach so that becomes a hunted object. 

Yesterday, I took a beach walk with my Labrador Honey and in the waves were thin long blades of an unfamiliar sea grass. Each wave placed the grasses in fluid curvy shapes surrounded by shells. There might be a pause between sets of waves which allowed a photograph or appreciation of the seashore scrollwork. But then the next sets of waves were like an eraser on a sandy chalkboard that erased the scrollwork. The waves gently reworked the grasses into new curves and moved them slightly in one direction or the other up the beach with the current.

I began taking photographs of these serendipitous little tableau complete with little shells or other sea detritus. I found the compositions amusing and somehow significant: as if the sea were communicating. Then, I saw a curvy, cursive letter “L”. It was grand, as if starting an important document, the way script used to be considered eloquent and authoritative. It was in the active sand area, where a wave could easily wash around it, lifting it and reshaping it into anything curvy. I felt like the ocean was talking with me and prompted me to participate in what it wanted to say to me right then and there.

That “L” was grand and eloquent and loud, as if we were playing charades. It was an easy pick, I knew the rest of the word. I just needed a shell or something to write it out. Here was a moment of God speaking through His creation. I just had to open my eyes and heart to see. Paul says in the book of Romans: Since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)

Another wave came in and erased the word and the beautiful sea grass, but it had made an impression on me—amidst my day’s activities, God’s love became brighter and inspired my afternoon.

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