Friday, September 9, 2016

Beach Stories


I spent a lot of early mornings at the beach last summer. It was my perfect kind of summer, cool nights followed by foggy mornings. It didn't hurt that the cool mornings kept beachgoers away until at least late morning, long after I had already returned home.


This summer has been hot! The beachgoers staking their claim to their spot of sand real estate by eight a.m. I haven't been to the beach for even one early morning.


Things changed this week. Labor Day is past, the summer people have gone home, the children are back in school, and the temperatures are making a slow downward slide. But the best part is the overcast skies. I love gray moody skies and the calm colors of steely blue water. I harnessed up the grandpuppy, Findley, and loaded him into the car for exercise and socialization.


Last year I wandered with my camera looking for stories. I found remnants of stories, and if I was a fiction writer those photos could have been a springboard for some very interesting tales. But I am not a fiction writer and something was missing.


Wednesday morning when Fin and I were at the beach, I discovered what was missing - the human voice. I had hoped to gather those kind of stories last year, but it was always a near miss, except for the guy with the Hooked on Jesus hat who told me how he weighted down his wife's body and threw her overboard from his boat because she had Alzheimer's. I don't count that, that was just plain weird. This year with a cute puppy at the end of the leash, more normal people want to talk to me.


It started with a little boy named Henry whom Fin and I encountered on our way back from the pier. Henry was a tow-headed boy of two, wearing a fine forming-fitting navy blue life preserver. Henry had a tight clutch on his mom's hand, but as Findley and I got closer I could see him desperately trying to pull his hand away, the look on his face screamed excitement at seeing a puppy. His parents being good parents asked me if their son could pet Findley. Findley loves little kids and does very well with them. I made Findley sit and Henry moved close, eye to eye, mouth to mouth. Suddenly Findley's tongue darted out and gave Henry a sweet kiss on the lips. Henry giggled with delight. Findley sat, Henry petted and gibbered, while his parents asked the puppy's name, introduced Henry and told me how much Henry loves dogs. From the way Henry's hand gently stroked Findley's fur, that was very apparent. More people were coming along the pier so Findley and Henry said their good-byes, I could see the sadness in each of their eyes.


Shortly after leaving Henry and on our way back to the car via the channel, we came across two twenty-something girls trying to take a selfie with the Big Red Lighthouse in the background, it wasn't working so well. They saw me and asked if I would take their photo with Big Red in the background. I said sure, we'll trade, I will take their photo while they hold Findley, they said sure. So it came to be that Katie and Samantha had their photo taken at Holland State Park with the Big Red Lighthouse in the background, and Samantha is holding the leash to a stranger's golden retriever puppy. Katie told me that they were from South Bend, Indiana and were on a traveling adventure along the Lake Michigan shore. Girls after my own heart. We got to talking about photography, traveling and I told them I write a blog about traveling and adventures. Katie immediately whipped out her phone and wrote down the URL for my blog. Katie wants to start a travel website and Samantha wants to do a food blog. I told Katie to send me an email, I would love to hear about their travels and if they ate at one of the local restaurants I suggested.

This week I discovered that people are hungry to share their stories, they want to interact with complete strangers, they want to build community. What if each of us took a morning to interact with strangers and share stories? What kind of world could this be?

13 comments:

  1. Love the photos and
    Beach Stories
    Make my day . . .
    Findley and the little boy . . .And the face lick
    And . . .
    The girls with the red lighthouse, holding a strangers pup . . ,
    Love your stories . . .
    More please . . .
    I like stranger happenstance . . .
    Throwing a loved one overboard info . . .
    Not so much!

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  2. So glad you're back to your adventures by the water! I've found that more people talk to me when I carry my camera than without it. That's strange to me, but I've had some wonderful conversations.

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  3. I am glad more 'normal' people are talking to you with Findley as your travel partner. :) I agree with you, I think most people do want to share their story and feel a sense of connection with others. And if we all took time to listen to others stories? I think the world would be a happier place.

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  4. So good to see Big Red again! I really need to get back to Michigan.

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  5. Sounds like a great day Sarah, and your shots are lovely. Did you really have someone tell you they dumped their wife overboard?? What did you do??

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  6. I do this in some way every single morning on my runs
    It really is the very best, and it never fails to get my day off to a happy start.

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  7. Thank you for sharing. Love to hear about your outing.

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  8. "What kind of world ... If we shared stories with strangers ....." A much better one!

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  9. I agree too.... I think people are hungry to share their stories. Connecting with others in real life is satisfying in a way online connections sometimes aren't. It's amazing what strangers will tell you! My mum is always sharing the most intriguing tales from her trips around town on the bus! Popping by from Blogging from the Heart! Linda. x

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  10. Great post, Sarah. It's lovely to see your beautiful red lighthouse again - I've missed it. I visited my beach on a foggy day this week, too. The summer people have gone from here, too, leaving the shore to the locals once again. But while you and Findley were enjoying socializing, I was reveling in being ALONE! :-)

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  11. Oh Sarah, what a lovely post. And your shots are wonderful! I wish Findley was my pup!!! I agree totally about engaging strangers. Sometimes it's as simple as a smile and a nod, with "HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY". I've done that, and had someone stop me, as I kept walking to say, "Excuse me, but you have just made my whole day. You looked me in the eye...we have never met, and yet you wish me well...and I thank you, and wish you the same." We shook hands, and parted and I would like to think that that gentleman paid it forward as he went about his day.
    We are one in this universe, and we better reach back into the side of humanity, where love and compassion lie in wait for an awakened soul, before humanity destroys itself! Aloha!

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  12. Oh Sarah, what a lovely post. And your shots are wonderful! I wish Findley was my pup!!! I agree totally about engaging strangers. Sometimes it's as simple as a smile and a nod, with "HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY". I've done that, and had someone stop me, as I kept walking to say, "Excuse me, but you have just made my whole day. You looked me in the eye...we have never met, and yet you wish me well...and I thank you, and wish you the same." We shook hands, and parted and I would like to think that that gentleman paid it forward as he went about his day.
    We are one in this universe, and we better reach back into the side of humanity, where love and compassion lie in wait for an awakened soul, before humanity destroys itself! Aloha!

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  13. It would be an amazing world. Reading stories like yours helps me not giving up on humans just yet. I know we are capable of being amazing, compassionate people. All that gets lost in just trying to survive the day.

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Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)