I went for a run-quickly-turned-walk along Sunrise/Sunshine beach this afternoon to skip around in the waves and do other child-like movements that might make others question my sanity.
I came across a long stick as I was heading back; at the time I was digging my big toes into the sand to create lines, but this looked like a much better option. I picked it up and began leaving a trail of squiggles behind me. The lines were so crisp, I couldn’t help but stop and draw a face by the water’s edge.
The face looked weird without hair, then a head with no body looked even weirder. After about 45 minutes, I’d drawn a mermaid with long wavy hair reaching into the white wash. The final addition was a speech bubble saying, “Smile, we are in paradise!” I ran over to the nearest sand dune to admire my work.
While trying to capture a photo of my masterpiece, despite the awkward light and angle, a mother and her young children stopped as they reached the mermaid's body. I walked over to the boy who was trying to read what it said in the speech bubble. As I helped him read the word “paradise,” his mum approached and asked if I drew it. They looked so delighted to meet the artist. I picked up the stick I’d placed in the mermaid’s hand and offered it to the boy. I told him he could add to my picture if he'd like. He told me it was already good, so instead he’d draw a smiley face beside it.
As the family walked away, the boy kept turned back and waving with a huge grin. I placed the stick back in the mermaid’s hand and continued to walk home, which happened to be in the same direction they were going. The boy stopped briefly ahead of me; his mother turned back, still smiling, and waved him along.
I was yet to put my earphones back in before I reached the spot where he'd been crouching down. I’m so glad I didn’t miss the special message he wrote in the sand for me; it read “Than you.”
Only two days ago I wrote a blog about how important it is to take time out to just “be,” to do things for ourselves and others. This fleeting exchange on the beach serves as a perfect example that. Each little heart-warming moment reminds that good things often come from being present and kind.