It must’ve been a big night at the beach for the gulls, for those around me are sleeping it off. Soft feather rounds of white and cloud-gray, they curl their necks gracefully to tuck beaks beneath wings. Gentle ripples of lace-edged blue water brush the sand while flashes of sunshine dance on the Sound’s dips and peaks.

Over recent months, it’s been hard to quell heartache as the war in Ukraine grinds on, Tyre’s family mourns, and earthquakes devastate cities and families. But as I stroll the beach, the soft rumble of a song vibrates in my throat with no conscious direction on my part. I assume it’s a good sign to be moved to music, an indication that the drone of must-do’s and bad-news has quieted for this respite.

So, what has my heart punched in on my inner juke box? I don’t immediately know, have to let that rumble play on a bit while I process the rhythm. John Lennon. Recognition of the artist comes first, then the melody: “Love, love, love….” Pleased by my selection and the frame of mind reflected, I meander, admiring the scatter of shells and wedge-shaped prints of my seagull companions.

Milky jingle shells of peach, lemon, and cream, fragile in their flavorful colors, mingle with eggplant-purple mussels and brown and white slipper snails. I cup my hand and start a collection.

A flash of green catches my eye: beach glass, rare in this age of recycling. As a child during summers in Rhode Island, hours with my sisters and friends passed unnoticed as we scoured the shore for remnants of soft drink bottles and those of our fathers’ favorite beers. We’d call out the colors as we found them, “White! Brown! Aqua,” all those bottles of Schlitz, Miller, and Coke broken, tumbled, and rounded by rolling waves and shifting sand. Occasionally we’d happen upon gems of red, blue, or violet from Milk of Magnesia and old apothecary jars.

Laddered white lifeguard stands face the water seeming still to keep watch. A clutch of gulls, adolescents I think, gaze toward the horizon, contemplative as any beachgoer. With a keen sense of flow and design, Nature has painted their speckled feathers the same pattern and hues as the slipper snails. As I bend to pick up a snow-white clam shell, Lennon’s hopeful song of human harmony spools through my mind, and I step, splash, reach for a shell, step, splash, hum. “Love, love, love…”

Suddenly I stop, suffused with wonder. Someone – a child pausing from turning cartwheels? A smitten teen? An adult like me, moved by an inner song? – has spelled a word with shells in the sand: LOVE. Yes! Love! I can almost hear the heavenly horn section blaring a brassy accompaniment as the Universe smiles, and uplifted, I walk on.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email