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An afternoon at the beach.


Beach PaintingAllison, my 3 year old daughter, and I have come down to the beach. The wind is blowing strong and steady. We take off our shoes and walk bare footed across the sand. Allison scampers on ahead noticing her foot prints as she goes. She reaches down and grabs a handful of sand and slowly opens her fingers letting the sand grains fall and be instantly whisked away by the wind. After several handfuls of sand its on to the next thing.
Crab shells and crab legs litter the beach. Allison runs from one to the next, stomping on each, making the shells crack and crumble under her little heal. She picks up a feather and hands it to me. "Here, daddy, hold it for me," she says. Soon we're treasure hunting for lost seagull feathers. She brings them to me one by one tightly held between thumb and forefinger so the persistent wind won't blow it away.
It's not long before I've got quite an assortment of feathers in my hand, and I fear if we keep this little game up, I'll have enough for a whole bird! But alas, a 3 year old's attention span isn't that long and we're on to new and better things. This time it's sticks and rocks. I'm lucky my coat has large pockets because they're starting to fill. After a sufficient amount of rock collecting in which each one was delivered to me in a ceremonious way with the words, "A present for you daddy!" I suggest to her that the beach is full of rocks and we can't collect them all. She reaches down and picks up something dry and brown.
A year ago, when we had come to the beach, Allison found something else that was dry and brown. It turned out to be a nice dry horse biscuit! Left behind from the many horses people ride up and down this part of the beach. At 2 everything goes into the mouth and this was no exception. She started to take a bite out of the dry horse poop and then dropped it in disgust! I quickly ran over to her and got it out of her mouth. My wife was video taping us at the time and we all had a good laugh about it. Now when we watch the home video of that trip, we all relive the hilarious moment.
This year it was some dry seaweed and this time she wasn't trying to eat it. I explain to her what it is, but somehow I don't think she really understands. She runs off looking for the next thing.
Off in the distance a group of people are doing what looks like Tai-Chi. With arms and legs flexed, they slowly, rhythmically move in unison. They're all facing the ocean. Focusing the mind. They're free-flowing movements are gathering up the sea's energy, it's life force. Part of me wants to join them. Even so, just being here fills me inside.
I take a few deep breaths of salty ocean air. I guess it's time to see what else Allison has found. I still have some room in my pockets.

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