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The water wasn’t clear yesterday. But its soothing sounds were. I let the waves lap at my feet, felt my heart settle into a peaceful rhythm. Allowed my mind to wander, sitting in companionable silence with a kindred spirit on the shores of an island still very raw and mostly free of people and their noise.

The gulf is never the same. My cousin and I were discussing this yesterday while we walked on the beaches of Dauphin Island. Every day, they look different. The tides and what they bring in, take out, result in different scenery from one day to the next.

What gets left behind are often broken bits of shell. Trash. 

But sometimes there are intact pieces of beauty. Whole shells, perfected by their trauma, that somehow managed to arrive at the shore without blemish.

Little survivors of the waves. 

If you’ve ever seen an angry sea, that’s pretty amazing to stop and think about. That anything so small and fragile could survive, and not be broken. 

What is the secret to that, I wonder? I would suppose that it has a lot to do with resistance. Not fighting the tide, but simply allowing it to carry, push, pull, and then finally allow it to roll onto shore.

There’s an expression for people who remain on the coast during inclement weather. We say, “They’re going to ride it out.”

It simply means, “We’re going to prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and let nature have it’s way. And when it is done, we’ll take the next step. Whatever that may be.”

Sometimes, they have to go. The threat is just too high. The potential just too threatening. Higher ground has to be found. 

I used to think that this must be an exhausting lifestyle. Until I realized that it is the same for everyone whether we live near the tides or not. 

And we all hope, like the unbroken shell, that by hanging on, a peaceful shoreline awaits us.

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