This Time and Place

We're visiting Dwayne's mom at her home in Vero Beach. Mom has been in the hospital and rehab since Thanksgiving, so we've come to give Dwayne's sister a break and simply enjoy the time we have with mom. It's in the middle of our homeschool year, and we all have so many responsibilities, but as we order our lives, nothing is more important than being with mom right now. 

We take at least one walk on the beach everyday, and the landscape varies constantly, drastically, yet it's always beautiful. 

What Grandma wants, she gets. She wanted snickerdoodle, so...

The exuberance of nature overwhelms my senses at the beach. I can almost hear the earth singing. The sun warms my face and the cold waves roar and then whisper and break on my toes and the salt spray mingles with the salt tears at the corners of my eyes and a chuckle rises in my belly at the exact same time it rises in Adele's belly, too, and we laugh in unison at the sandpipers feet, at it all, at everything. It's like all created things are laughing with us or they were laughing first and we are just now joining them; Genesis was just a minute ago, and the new earth and Heaven are only one minute away. Beauty smiles at us, and we are welcomed into the dance. 

This crab lifted his claws as I came near to take his picture. I lost my nerve and ran away when the wave broke behind him and he came barreling towards my bare toes. I ran like a school girl. 

I noticed how the water wrapped around itself and flowed back to the sea in the shape of a backbone. There were little and smaller backbones appearing all along the beach as the water got closer to the waves. 

Look carefully, there's a crab.

The girls enjoy more freedom now that they are older and so do we. They are not so hard to keep alive at the beach now, and we often can let them go and explore while we just sit and rest. 

We've taken this same picture of the girls at the top of the stairs for many years.

We're collecting shells (and rocks and coral, etc.) and playing cards with Grandma and playing pool (badly) with each other. On the trip, Adele has learned to shuffle under Grandma's faithful and patient guidance. 

It's remarkable what we find. But I've come understand there are three rules to finding outstanding seashells. #1. You must be on the beach. #2. You must be attentive. #3. You must trouble yourself to stop, bend over, and pick them up. It is no more complicated than this. 

Even as we are better at being available to find some of the most glorious shells, we are also starting to collect the gnarly, beautiful things, too, because even the broken things, they are, nevertheless, so very beautiful. I love to sort the shells and study their colors and shapes. Glory be to God for dappled things. 

We're enjoying hours of quiet together as we often do when we are here. The ceiling fan clicks just like a clock, and we're all getting a lot of reading done. 

I found this book at the thrift store here. 

It's such a fitting read for this visit as we take the time to be in the same place as Grandma. 

More than anything, Wendell Berry teaches me to be content and happy with being myself. 

I'm just one particular creature relating to all the other particular creatures God has made me in relationship to. 

I'm a dappled thing, strange and spare, and so are you, and praise God for dappled things. 



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