Footprints by the Sea

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a dream.” William Shakespeare’s The Tempest

At the end of my blog’s last beach trek: http://tinyurl.com/Dome-Love I was just ready to climb to the boardwalk and head home. But first I took this parting photo of the distant dome with my Nikon:


Between this fence and that dome tent, was my iPhone

Then I thought I’d take a wide angle with my iPhone. But my phone wasn’t in my coat pocket, nor my pants pockets…it was GONE!

Some of you might relate to the immediate feeling in such loss. I re-searched all my pockets in disbelief, rapidly, one frantic pocket search after the other. If I had a selfie of my face at the time you’d see two fried-egg-eyes, wide in disbelief.

But it was true, my faithful iPhone was not with me. I thought I’d tucked it into my inside coat pocket, as usual, but apparently I missed the pocket and the phone fell to the sand.

Tight jawed I re-traced my steps.

After leaving the tent dome I had walked a zig zag pattern first along the surf, then inland to chat with a passing beach truck driver. I retraced that meandering track with the keenest osprey eye working to discern my fading footprints from other intersecting sand blown prints.

I thought I’d work my way back to the dome and maybe ask the couple within to call my phone repeatedly while I searched, maybe ask them to help as well. I also thought of using their phone to call Cheryl to help me search. Yes, I’m doing all this eventuality-thinking while I’m searching…because I’m desperate to find my phone.

My phone does have my home number taped to the back but the wind whipped sand and rising tide threatened to bury it in sand or sea in minutes.


But I’ve been unusually guided at such sand-searchings. A memory of a missing  oystercatcher chick is recalled: https://leebythesea.me/2015/05/31/so-fragile-so-precious/

And now too, in this wide expanse of white I was again guided to the spot, some distance off, where I saw the slim black profile. Oh man, that’s it. Got it! I actually kissed the thing when I had it in hand. All was well, blessed once again.

Now, I think of myself as someone who has grown a bit through the years in that I’m able to keep in the fore-of-mind of what’s really important in life. But it’s at times like this that I see a peeling away my “evolved” onion-skin depth of growth to reveal my latent but robust human frailty.

When I later looked at the moment I realized a button was pushed that exposed the boy-self within me. A self that screamed, “Your stuff is gone!”

I reverted to my shallow clutcher-of-things, things expensive, shiny, or just very nice to have, things that were…my valuables. Then when I found my “cherished” object I was so relieved….I kissed the damned thing.

I thought, why should I be so moved to have kissed it?

It’s so easy to put so much personal weight into “things”, to put so much importance in objects…these ”valuables.” Sure, it’s okay to get pissed when I lose something of value. But it deserves just a shrug too, even a smile in the larger perspective. The larger  view of the impermanence of all that is, the tentative nature of life itself, of those around me, of my own life.

So now, a few days later, as I walked our shore and saw the gale-blown sands, the white surf dashing against the black rocks, I was reminded to just appreciate what really is important.

The circumstances of life change just as swiftly as the sea’s. All is calm, all is serene…then all is tumult. The world turned upside down through loss…real loss.

Best slo of day DSC_7077.JPG

So I need to remember, when the sea of life is blessed with peace and beauty to take none of it for granted. Let none of it go unnoticed, unappreciated, unabsorbed. To not take the presence of anyone close to me as…usual or routine.

Because no app-filled phone, no shiny car, no high-def anything can ever match the experiences of life, the experience of loved ones.

Sitting here at these computer keys today I can visualize tapping a phone screen for mail or message. But I can also visualize a baby girl’s silken hair and the scent of her milk breath. I can remember running alongside a training-wheeled bike.

And I can recall a walk down the aisle, not arm-in-arm to offer her in wedlock…but in most sorrowful steps…behind her casket.

So, even if I had lost the digital gadget, it was only stuff, it was not of flesh and bone, laughter and tears. No material has ever left me with memories of a lilting voice saying, “I love you, Dad.”

Yes, to listen. To give a hug, to kiss a cheek, to see eyes filled with joy in uncontrollable laughter…is to know life’s valuables.


She lives on in me, in my thoughts, in these words…and my footprints by the sea.

Lee and his daughters.jpg

My three daughters, Barbara Ann, Mary Lynn, (who died Nov 5, 2016) and Kathleen


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