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There’s a moon in my lagoon

April 5, 2010

Things we saw driving to my mom and dad’s:

A house on wheels
A tank on a truck
A golf cart on a truck
A truck on a truck
An enormous wind farm
Our favorite advertisement for an “adult club”: “All of the liquor, none of the clothes!” (I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but it is worth repeating)
Big Bone Lick State Park
The Creation Museum (exterior only)

Things we saw after we got there:

2 bald eagles
fish jumping (no cotton in sight, high or otherwise)
pelicans (with full and empty beaks)
an anole lizard changing color (we saw this several times and it was never boring)
a boy riding his bike crying because he was lost (we got him found)
A flock of wood storks in the sun
An alligator swimming in a lagoon, making S-curves with his tail.
Dozens of turtles sunning on logs
One brave turtle sharing his log with a baby alligator
A bobcat from very close range
One perfect sand dollar

—–

Vacations down here are always like an exercise in combinatorics. One morning, for example, we began with 5 in the house: A, B, C, D and E. A departed for tennis leaving B, C, D and E, still in their pajamas. Then B left for yoga, leaving C, D, and E. Then C and D left for the beach, while E took her sweet time finishing her morning coffee in a house to herself. C went off for a run by himself while D returned home to fetch E and they piled some beach toys into a backpack and balanced a boogie board precariously on the handlebars of E’s bike and rode back to the beach. After a while, C, on his way back from his run, joined them. Then C went home to shower and D and E stayed a little longer. D and E rode home. E dropped off D and went off for a bike ride alone. When she came back, C and D were still there, but they left shortly afterwards, leaving E alone again. A few minutes later, B returned and began discussing dinner plans with E. After a while, C and D returned as well. Last of all, A came home and for a few brief minutes A, B, C, D and E were all in the kitchen AT THE SAME TIME.

Or you could also describe it as follows:

ABCDE
A BCDE
A B CDE
A B CD E
A B C D E
A B C DE
A B CD E
A B CDE
A B CD E
A BE CD
A BCDE
ABCDE

This would also probably make a good plan for a piece of music. Hmm.

One afternoon, I rode my bicycle as far as I could down the beach toward one end of the island, past all the houses, past the pool, past the golf course. Over the years, the weather and tides have changed that end of the island. I used to ride all the way out to the tip, but now there are little rivers cutting through the beach, eventually deepening enough to prevent me from riding my bike any further. Past the rivers the beach keeps going and starts to curve around into a sharp hook that didn’t used to be there. I had planned to walk out there, but there were so many birds that I decided to stop and watch them instead rather than disturbing them. As I turned my bike around, I looked down and saw a piece of a sand dollar half buried in the sand right next to my foot. There were sand dollar fragments all over. One I passed would have been, had it been whole, the size of a salad plate.

When we used to go down there when we were kids, there were sand dollars all over. My brother and I used to collect them by the hatful, competing to see who could find the most. We loved them, but they didn’t matter too much, because we knew we’d always come back for more. But then they disappeared. While I often find pieces of them, I never find whole ones anymore.

But something made me bend down to look at the fragment by my foot. My fingers remembered the careful way to uncover the edges without breaking the fragile shell. It was a whole one. I almost cried. It is sitting now on top of my grandmother’s desk next to a baby picture of AJ and a fossilized starfish that I picked up on the beach the first day we were there. I am always bringing parts of the beach home. It’s the next best thing to bringing myself to the beach. But the sand dollar is special. It’s not just the beach I brought home, but the beach of my childhood.

The morning after I found the sand dollar, I crept out early onto the deck and saw what looked like a sand dollar floating in the lagoon — a large round disk. It was the moon.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 5, 2010 3:53 pm

    Oh, how beautiful.

  2. April 5, 2010 6:11 pm

    It sounds like so much fun to be at the beach this time of year. Can you go in the ocean at all?
    I’ve never heard of a sand dollar the size of a dinner plate!

  3. freshhell permalink
    April 5, 2010 6:21 pm

    Welcome back!

  4. coldspaghetti permalink
    April 6, 2010 12:06 am

    Where we you? Sounds fantastic!

    I love the ABCDE variations. I read it and thought that it would make a good probability equation. And then I saw that you thought of music. 🙂

  5. April 6, 2010 11:06 am

    It was lovely in SC. The ocean was too cold for me to swim, but AJ didn’t have a problem with it. If the air temperature had been warmer (it was mostly in the 60s and low 70s) I might have tried it. We waded though. Coldspaghetti, this is one of many reasons why musicians and mathematicians should work together more!

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