My feet hit the wet sand. Balance tentative, I still try to move forward. The whirling ocean waves greet my ears. I start paying attention. There are two little girls practicing cartwheels in the sand. Her yellow bathing suit signals birds nearby as she successfully lands on two feet. Her sister, I presume, isn’t as lucky. As I pass by them, she says, “I will try again! I know I will get it this time.”

I  feel the heat of the sun pouring golden coins as I looked up into the blue sky. In the corner of my eye, I see a man with a gray Denver shirt juggling three ping-pong balls. He drops one as I edge the corner of my run, but I still catch a small little smile on his face. On the opposite corner, there is a man and his kids blowing huge bubbles in the sky. The iradescent surface offers multiple rainbows. The kids are screaming. “Look at the rainbows Daddy. There are so many! How does that happen?” Their exuberance and innocence prompted me to pause and lean into their version of life.

As I finished my run, I noticed the couple sitting on their patio sipping a mango colored drink. Near the ocean, one woman used a inflatable inner tube as a pillow while  her daughter read a book. I saw a sandcastle, complete with stairs, a tower, and an archway. The taste of sand and water, the smell of saltwater taffy and wisps of coffee, and the voices of little girls who almost always sounded like my daughter overwhelmed me for a few seconds.

I didn’t know how to take it all in. My first ever run near the beach opened my eyes. I am guilty of focusing so much on the shadows of sadness that sometimes I forget.

The threads of life. In the man juggling, the woman reading, the father blowing bubbles for his kids, and myself, running on the beach with the sounds of Coldplay guiding my cadence.


Image by Janine Curry