An unknown community of beachwalkers helped me

New Year is waxing towards full arrival and I have an idea.

It’s not new. I tried it before. Well, an aspect of it.

About twenty years ago, I rented a little house on the tip of Anna Maria Island (Florida) next to the beach. Newly divorced, I was beginning an ascent towards dreaming of a new life. 

I covered up feelings to forget.

There are a gazillion ways to do it. My two favorites: eating a bag of pretty much anything that is fluorescent orange (think Cheetos or cheese popcorn) and mindless working or being busy nonstop. Whoa! I yes'd and never no’d.

Not that cheese popcorn or work is bad.

It’s how I used these things to run away.

To not feel.

Well, that sweet little Anna Maria home about 100 steps from the beach was the setting for a small personal change. A step. Steps really. I decided I’d cross the street and walk the beach.

Every day.

I wove a teeny basket of palm fronds, hung it on the wall next to the front door, and took my first walk.

I walked slowly, breathed in and out. I began to look skyward. I noticed things. Like the breeze on my face, vociferous gulls, and the changing moods of the sea. And I felt. I cried, laughed, cursed. I unabashedly shared with the sea. Gentle and ferocious laps of waves nurtured and encouraged me.

I noticed the duality of the sea, its ebb and tide, its calm and rough. I saw myself in this and gained the courage to fully feel.

I picked up an anomiidae shell to mark that first walk. They’re flat, pearl-like, about the size of a nickel and nicknamed jingle. There's often a hole in the jingle caused by growth around the byssus. I placed it in the basket I made upon my return.

I don’t have that basket anymore. Nor the hundreds of shells marking each of my walks. However, I still have the peace and strength I gained.

Now. It’s today. 

This morning I recalled one of those early morning beach walks from that Anna Maria house. Only, this walk I took with a girlfriend.

Somewhere along the walk, this came forth: “Let’s give the sea a gift!” Near the tip of the island, we found a sprawling, almost driftwood tree branch. We planted its trunk in the sand safely away from the high tide line. Like children in a seaside scamper, we each found a small shell with a hole (to string seaweed through for a hanging loop). We tied a wish onto our proclaimed peace tree.

We hugged, laughed, and skipped away, saying to someone we passed, “Hey, that’s a peace tree. Make a wish.”

Here is the part I want you to know.

The next day I took my usual walk. As I came upon our tree, I fell to my knees in surprise. The tree was fully adorned! Someone even circled its base with a mosaic mandala of shells and rocks. The tree leaned with a weight of wishes.

later thought about affectivity. What I mean by affectivity is the effect of what we say or do. Spiritual leaders say that our words and actions each day are our legacies.