Tuesday, May 8, 2012

little victories.

i have a fear of touching sea creatures. {except dolphins and sea turtles}, and it is low tide right now. i was walking down the beach after sunset tonight and i saw live conchs washed up, scattered along the shore. i stopped at the first one i saw and decided to do something i have never done before- i picked it up. before i could freak out i threw the little creature into the ocean. i continued to pick up four more, carefully, making sure i did not come anywhere near to the inside walls of the shell, tossing them into the ocean as i went. stressed though it made me, i felt good about this. i was making a difference in each one of their little lives, postponing death a little bit longer. then i came to the sixth one. it was already moving before i could pick it up, trying to dig itself back into the sand, away from the open air. pinched between  my thumb and forefinger, i tenderly picked it up. exposed to the air, the little muscle inside the conch started to come out, writhing and struggling. surprised and afraid i dropped it, stepped back, took a breath and tried again. second time, the same thing happened, but this time when it dropped the shell it landed upside down and i watched as it flipped itself back over. 

 this was too much for me. the thought of the little animal touching me made my stomach do backflips. i did try...i decided to keep walking, abandoning it to the fate of the world. after all, i was doing pretty well, even throwing back a handful of them was an accomplishment for me. baby steps, you know. but after a few paces i started to feel guilty- that conch was trying harder than all the others, and it most of all deserved to make it back into the sea. so i stood from afar, debating the dilemma i found myself in, staring at it. then, another woman walked up and threw it quickly and simply into the water. no thought. no fear. and she continued to walk down the beach doing it over and over again. and i noticed a couple of more people doing the same exact thing. even if i couldn't accomplish the small task of saving that particular conch's life, there was another person who would fill in and do it for me. today, my faith in humanity is a little bit restored. 

do something that requires courage. be brave. it's scary, but you will feel good afterwards. 

and maybe one day i will be able to touch a stingray, they are somehow always cropping up, presenting themselves for me to pet and feed. i am going to key west this weekend, and i won't be surprised if i come into contact with one there too. but i'm not ready for that kind of commitment. not yet anyway. 

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