Sometime in the past year, I grew accustomed to taking a Sunday afternoon nap. Like a cozy, curled up kitty, I snuggle under my favorite blankie. There my mental hot air balloon sails, untethered, into another dimension.
These Sunday siestas somehow differ from my other conk-out conventions at night, which are more like extended power naps. At night my time is limited, packed with de-fusing from crazy days and anticipating how to manage the next crazy day.
But Sundays seem like a luxury. High strung as I can be, it took me weeks to chill out and give myself permission to pause, to see the afternoon nap as holding equal or greater value to, say, that last load of laundry glaring at me from the hamper, which taunts me that it’s nearly Monday.
Or the five spots of scuffed-off front porch floor paint nagging at me to be repainted every time I cross the threshold. And I refuse to repaint it until I can locate the correct colors I need for the beach-themed floor-mural I’m planning, which very well could fail because the only colors I can find on the market for outdoor floor paint are pool-blue and gad-a-mighty-ho-hum grey. I was hoping for greens and yellows and oranges and reds. Evidently there is no market for bright outdoor porch-floor paint.
Sherwin-Williams, are you listening?!
I suppose I like to dream outside the box. Thus my brain leads me to wander on these Sunday afternoons.
Today’s nap deposited me at the greatest of beaches – it was a melding of the dramatic Pacific coastline, the serenity of the Gulf, the desertion of the Bering Sea, the charm of the Côte d’Azur and the humbling of the Atlantic. And the mind-blowing dunes of Lake Michigan thrown in, too, for good measure.
Because I rarely stay in my designated spot while at the beach, I saw a dune and climbed it. It took great effort; the sand was fine and the dune was very tall, towering hundreds of feet over me. On my way up, I gained perspective to see that the tide was coming in, bringing with it exquisite treasures below.
Once I was high enough up, I was also able to spot some groups of shells that others before me had collected and for some reason, left behind. This was intriguing – the shells, from afar, appeared full and big, perfectly formed and in hand-sized heaps, jut waiting for someone to come along and scoop up to claim as their own treasure. Yet there was no one else in sight. Why would they leave such a lovely mound of treasure like that? I made a mental note to skibble over there after I reached my current goal to top this dune to see what had caught my eye here.
Winded and exhilarated, I reached the top and, to my astonishment, there was a perfectly round sand dollar, deposited and long-forgotten. It had some faint fissures in it – the sun was bright, I was breathing too hard and so excited, I failed to take those fissures full into account, and I reached down to pick up the sand dollar.
As my fingers curled to touch it, the fissures became more clear – it was at risk of breaking if it was disturbed.
I fancied myself capable, however, of being able to both touch and feel this fragile treasure. I would not harm it; I had a way I knew to scoop the sand underneath it to maintain its integrity. I would be able to both enjoy and protect this coveted beauty.
It would take planning to do it right, and as I rehearsed in my head how to protect, preserve and capture it as mine, the shadows shifted and my eyes were drawn to the sky. The sun was about to set beyond the biggest of dunes where the intact piles of perfect treasures lay, and below, the tide continued to wash in even more treasures which beckoned me to explore.
I had to choose whether to abandon the imperfect which demanded my bravado and risk, to see if I could make it before dark to the piles of inviting treasures much higher, or allow gravity to carry me down swiftly to the shoreline where the rising tide had provided the unknown.
Intoxicated by excessive self-assurance (or was it arrogance?), I selfishly bent down again and, conscious of the setting sun, I tried my best to cradle the fissured sand dollar.
Seemingly before I had even touched the sand around it, it fractured and was no longer whole.
The sun was now down, dusk was fully upon me, and I was already having trouble keeping sight of the treasures beyond and the treasures below.
The pieces of broken sand dollar in hand, I descended the massive dune, wondering if the intact treasures beyond would still be there come sunup, and wondering what I’d missed in the tide.
Likely, they’d be gone, forever.
Or perhaps they never really existed.
I would – simply – have to find perfection in my broken sand dollar.