Bird tracks on the sand.

The coastal skies were either foggy or smoky or both, my last few outings to the beach. Today the sun shone bright and early on the shore, and during my entire drive over there.

Fishermen were wearing their scarves and layers against the usual morning fog, but they didn’t need that sort of attire.

Yesterday morning I’d wakened with body and mind rested in such fullness, that before I even got out of bed the idea of a beach trip proposed itself. When I saw the weather forecast, I knew in peace that I would go.

Trails of big and little bird tracks ran back and forth, and other mysterious patterns.

Many of the footprints surely were made by more than a dozen turkey vultures that I encountered by the shore, tearing at a dead seal. I ran up to provoke them into flying, so I could film them, and they obliged by flapping over to a driftwood structure nearby. Some of their group hung out in and around the lagoon.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the fall season, and October, the dying of the year, and how my garden has looked more depressing than I ever remember. It could just be because I am home and in the garden more than usual for October….

Other ideas swirl around in my head, stimulated by the books I’ve been reading, the high school church school class I help teach, and national and personal current events. Every thing is so connected to every other thing… Do I really need to write to process it, as I normally feel the need to do — or just to pray?

It was splendid to get the fresh but warm air at the coast. The year is on its way out for good, but the earth is merely settling down to rest, and to be renewed. I want to make my outing to the ocean more regularly in the future, God willing, and see the waves still crashing on the sand, and the various birds — though I’d prefer they not be buzzards — and the driftwood architecture humans are always creating. My feet will sink into the sand and feel earthy. I will be renewed, too.


11 thoughts on “Bird tracks on the sand.

  1. A beautifully contemplative piece. I found spending four days at a nearby ocean reserve was restorative for my soul: waves relentlessly crashing over the rocks, walks in the forest, life in the shallow tidal pools, the tangy air … these things have been so forever and helped to ‘ground’ me in these strange pandemic times.

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  2. oh, Gretchen, my life is the nearness to the ocean! Even alone the walk refreshes me and brings the particular joy of the vast sky and stretching sand. I particularly love the cry of the gulls.. I hear the sound along with the rhythmic pound of the waves in my head at night! Sometimes I think of the Grey Havens spoken of in LORD OF THE RINGS… no matter where one is, the call of the ocean is in the subconscious and we long for the home it represents. Some days I can hardly wait to cross over to Valinor!


    Sent from my iPhone

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  3. What a gift it is to wake up feeling so rested. Your photos are so good, tell the story of your day so beautifully. I especially love the tracks in the sand. The turkey vultures on driftwood remind me of our neighborhood ones who pose so creepily on a tall dead tree across the road. I hope you do follow through on your intent to make more trips to the coast. It is so easy to think of a current to-do list but time out for something like this must be so good for you.

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  4. I’m sure all those sights, sounds and smells (hopefully, not the seal!) were rejuvinating.

    Processing all that’s going on vs. praying is my dilemma also. I’ve felt a need to pull back rather than talk about the current state of the world. Trying to find joy when I often want to cry. Prayer feels like the only thing I can do that’s worth doing. We’re living in a time when no one seems to be listening anyway.

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  5. Summer seemed to go be so quickly and now Fall is swiftly moving into Winter. This strange year is passing and hopefully we won’t have another one like it. It’s wonderful to wake up with energy and resolve to spend the day at the ocean. So good that you did.

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  6. Such beautiful photos! What book are you reading for your Sunday school? I’d like to know more about your high school group and what everyone is learning.

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  7. I am so glad you got to visit the beach. How wonderful to just see fishermen. Bird tracks too.
    It would be nice to get to see the ocean with no people. I am so glad you are feeling good.
    It makes me so happy to hear that. Its also nice to see the blue of the skies.
    Have a wonderful week.

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  8. I enjoyed this post (as well as your next “apple post”) so much! As I read, I realized what I have been doing. For context, it’s been a busy, stressful fall for so many reasons related to work, the pandemic, and national events. I can sure relate to “thoughts swirling around” in my head. When I have a lot going on, my general approach is to focus on what needs fixing/doing before I allow myself to enjoy life. I’ve been putting off enjoying/appreciating life until after all these unsettling things are taken care of. I have not made it to an orchard this fall, I have not really been enjoying nature as I typically do…I’ve just sort of been getting through “the next thing”. I’m going to be thinking more about this and planning ways to break out of the this mindset. Thank you, as always, for your gentle, beautiful, thoughtful words and pictures. ❤

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