Smiles to Warm Me

My first morning at the beach, I’m eager to go for a walk. The sun has already crested the horizon, but I see it’s only 59 degrees out on our balcony. 



The beach is empty except for a boy racing by. Where’s he going? To the pier? Or home to escape the cold wind? Although I long to get out and walk along the sand, I decide to wait a while.

An hour later, the needle hasn’t budged, but a stalwart family of five has set up their chairs near the surf. Not too cold for them. I’ll bundle up.


Terry grins as I put on a flimsy hoodie. “Wind’s cold.”

Undeterred, I head out the door, but I don’t make it four steps before I retreat back inside and trade it for a my thickest cardigan.


            
My body acclimates somewhat on the trip down the boardwalk. It’s not too bad. Once down the stairs, the question arises: flip-flops or bare feet? I step out of my sandals and wiggle my toes in the sand—just a tad chilly.

Even though I know I’ll pay for it later with chaffed feet, I strike out. The closer I get to the water, the colder the sand. I settle for a path between the wet, packed shore and the deeper sand. As I slog west, the wind’s at my back and my sweater’s warm.


Following the tideline, I look for that elusive sand dollar or a tiny starfish, but all that catches my eye is an Imperial Venus about the size of a quarter. I pick it up.

A little farther down the way, a man sits with a book. He’s all bundled up against the wind except for his tanned hands and feet. We exchange “Good Mornings,” and I move on, wondering if the soles of his feet will burn later, too.

Two women feed the gulls from the end of their boardwalk. Half the noisy birds hover near them while others congregate on the sand below. Waiting their turn? I doubt it. More likely waiting for whatever falls on the sand. Gulls have notoriously bad manners.

I pick up a abandoned sand shovel and turn back. The wind on my face is not so bad. I’ve warmed up considerably, and my feet aren’t too cold.



I stop and ask a young couple gathering shells if they are looking for anything in particular. 

“Just picking up shells,” she says.
            
“Would you like this one,” I ask, handing her my shell. She and her companion break into smiles.

Next, I pick up a little piece of rosy barnacle and angle toward a boy of about ten dipping a net into the surf. I ask, “Would you like this?”



Grinning broadly, he says, “Thank you,” and shows it to an older woman (perhaps his grandmother). She rewards me with a nice smile, too.

That makes Four Smiles.

As I near our building, I see that the little family is still out, so I offer the smallest boy the shovel.

Four More Smiles.

Eight Smiles Today. 

My feet are already tingling as I head inside to slather lotion on them. But what’s a little discomfort when those warm smiles will be with me the rest of the day.

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer…

Proverbs 11:24 OB

Copyright © Reflections from Dorothy’s Ridge 2015. All rights reserved

6 thoughts on “Smiles to Warm Me

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