Rich Simplicity


The soft, round river rocks are large enough to use as stepping-stones my young son and I soon discovered. We were at the ocean’s edge where a small creek flowed into the salt water. At the transition point, the creek is full of round rocks and driftwood and small stones mixed in with the sand. We spent hours one afternoon building dams with the rocks and setting afloat various items such as leaves and sticks to watch them gently glide into the maze we had built. It was as if time stood still. There was nowhere else to be. There was nothing else to do. There was nothing to distract our attention. It was simply a cool spring day at the beach in the middle of the afternoon of our vacation. And we spent it playing with sticks and stones.

Oh how I treasure the simplicity of it all. It was too cold to get in the California waters in March, so we didn’t have much to carry with us. My bag probably contained a towel, a bottle of sunscreen, and a Frisbee we could toss. My husband had his book and sat nestled in the sand nearby as my son and I used our imagination and the objects in front of us to entertain ourselves.

The quietness. The slow movements we made as we worked to move the rocks into place. The tug and pull of maneuvering them to a new location took some time. We built and tested and then modified as we went along. A whirlpool here, an undertow there had us engineering as if we were certified engineers. Our time had an essence of abundance. The essence of not being in a hurry. The calmness. Oh, how I fondly reflect on that memory I shared with my son. The time we spent outside in nature just doing something so simple yet enticing to each of us. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I love the beach as I do. It invites me to simplify and press pause. It allows me to take a moment and be present with those next to me. To spend time with those I cherish so deeply.

If only I could bottle this moment forever. Funny enough, I don’t have any photos of the day. We didn’t capture any photos of our building efforts nor did we record it in any way. It’s only a memory in my mind that I love to reminiscence about and that I’ll treasure in my heart forever. One day at the beach, so simple, yet so rich.