The beach helps you simplify.  Each day you carry less stuff over the dunes realizing you can do without.  Dressing becomes a matter of choosing the driest tee shirt.  This simplification process forces me to let go of distractions and absorb the lessons hiding in front of me.

I thought I had gotten the beach insight already.  Several years ago when my sister was dying we were here and I wanted to bring Jackie one perfect shell from the beach she would never walk.

The Outer Banks is rough surf in the cross hairs of several opposing currents.  Finding perfect whole shells in this turbulence is rare.  So I gave up on the quest for a perfect shell for Jackie and instead saw the beauty and value in what was there; hidden in plain sight, weathered shells with holes in them.  These weathered shells started a long tradition of ankle bracelets for the beach crew.  We collect the shells that have been worn through with holes and add a bead or two and tie them on ankles all around.  I get a kick out of seeing these conservative, medical, button down types adorned so with shells and beads.  I love watching the shells we wear appear lighter as legs tan and cares lessen.

I have received that lessen but apparently I am suppose to take it even further.

There is yet another step on the way to becoming, that I see here in the surf.  Tides and waves and weather beat the shells into fragments, relentlessly pounding them until they are so broken that they are not discernable as shells at all.

That’s when it gets cool and magic happens.  Given time, the ragged shards of lives that were are ground so fine that they became the beach itself.  The sand we walk on is composed of minute fragments of shells.  It is not a graveyard but a place of stark beauty and a refuge for new lives and creatures to start their journey.  Morgan is in this mix.  We strive to see and accept the lessons and the gifts offered here.

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One Response to “Gil Harrington’s thoughts from July 9th, 2010”

  1. ann says:

    What beauty and wisdom you write and live, along with the grief. Thank you for sharing this.

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