An Ocean’s View
by Mary S. Sauerland
As I surged onto the sand, I felt the smoothness of the many seashells that had been washed ashore by a passing storm. They ranged in size from the tiny baby conchs to an old clam shell which had grown to be almost the size of a child’s hand. I slowly wear them away as the time passes by. A person could tell how long a shell has been below me by how rough or smooth the shell feels. The smoothest have not much time left until they will be turned into sand. In a million or so years, the roughest ones will become the same way. When more time has passed, they will rejoin the other shells as the sand that lies beneath me.
This beach in Long Island, is one of the most attractive beaches on the east coast; maybe even in America. Billions of people have walked alongside me; every one of them has a place in my never-ending memory. One family had visited in late April. I see them every day in my memory, though they have not revisited me yet. That is because sacred things should not be broken; this place is a remembrance of their family’s unbreakable bond.
The sun began to sink lower and lower from the sky and the family became alone; a young couple had left not too long ago after a long and romantic walk along side of me, the sounds of me crashing onto the shore had been their only company. The four of them are now walking along the edge of the beach where two walk together while the others, a brother and a sister trail farther behind them, inches from me, as I stretch out to reach them. They manage to escape me repeatedly by a swift jump to the side. The girl has fallen even farther behind the rest of the family because she had been bending down every now and then. I know what she is doing since I had been doing the same since I can remember. I see that the orange shells interest her. They have become my favorite over the passing years.
The parents call out to the girl who had fallen far behind, at least a quarter mile or so. She runs to them and I could barely make out a faint jingle as she runs. As the girl catches up to the other three, she began to show the others all of the shells she has found. Lastly, she shows them one thing that I can’t quite make out because of the distance between us. There is a loud feminine shriek followed by an assortment of laughter. They all have a different type of laugh but together the laughter sounds harmonious. I strain to see what has caused all the noises. After a moment of teasing her mother, the girl tosses the thing into me, far away from the family. I am surprised that she threw it so far. The claw of a crab. Something so simple and insignificant had been the cause of screams and then laughter. It had also formed something greater. A memory. One that will always be remembered by this family forever. They are all moving together now; four separate parts that make a whole.
That moment must have been one of their happiest times together. A bond between them, shaped by being together in that moment, that cannot, and will not, be broken by the many misfortunes the world deals out to its inhabitants. Sometimes the simplest things cause the most joy in people. That is the beauty of family. From the looks of peace and bliss on their faces, I can tell they will remember this moment forever. As will I.