Seashell on Beach
We've recently returned from a road trip and vacation to Gulf Breeze, Florida. This was my first trip south and what a delight it was! Somewhere in southern Missouri we drove through an invisible doorway into spring, leaving the barren trees and cold dampness of winter behind. We drank in the sight of daffodils, pansies, azaleas, and as we continued south I had my first glimpse of Spanish moss and wisteria. Normally, one experiences the delights of springtime unfolding slowly and almost imperceptibly. To suddenly be thrust into the glory of the season is a whole different experience--exhilarating to the senses!
Gulf Breeze, on the Florida panhandle, is situated on Fairpoint peninsula and boasts eighteen miles of waterfront. The pristine, sugary white sand beaches beckoned us to leave schedules and cares behind and to devote ourselves to the leisurely art of beach bumming. We all got sunburns in spite of our spf 50 sunblock, but it was so worth it!
Hunting seashells is a delightful occupation. It is amazing how many of the designs reminded me of flowers. My daughter made the mistake of stowing one in her purse---ugh, the smell was NOT at all flower-like! Some of those shells still shelter little inhabitants.
For people of the plains, the waves were almost mesmerizing. I believe it was Willa Cather who compared the blowing grass of the prairie to the waves of the sea, and now I have validated that observation with my own eyes.
Today, it is typical that we learn about nature from books. It is infinitely more desirable to experience it tangibly, to smell the smells, to feel the grit between the toes, to hear the loud voice of the gull for oneself.
I read an editorial in yesterday's newspaper by Froma Harrop on this very subject. She mentioned the fact that attendance at America's national parks has been dwindling since 1987 and attributes it to "videophilia". You can probably guess the definition of that word: the love of electronic media. She goes on to quote author Richard Louv, who has coined a term for our modern nature estrangement--"nature deficit disorder."
Here is a quote from this same author:
"Today, kids can tell you anything about the Amazon rain forest but not the last time they saw the leaves move."
Adults need to watch the leaves move, too. I'm on a crusade against "nature deficit disorder." While a vacation affords a special opportunity to indulge in the wonders of God's creation, taking time to be outside regularly can be considered a vacation taken in increments. And those little moments give me renewed strength to go out with joy and be led forth in peace.