I cringed in pain as I leaned down and reached for the edge of what I thought would be a beautiful sand dollar.

It wasn’t. “Just another broken bit.”  I sighed as I stiffly straightened up and walked on.

Over and over- I saw the curved, white edges I was searching for peeping out from the sparkling sugar sand like gold coins in a buried treasure chest.

Over and over I slowed. I reached down. I nudged curved edged shells from their sandy beds. I sighed. I cringed. I hurt.”Technically,” I wasn’t breaking (many) post surgical rules.I had my brace on. (Which- as a side note- could double as a nuclear shelter for a mouse. Its tough. Just sayin.) It took me 45 minutes to figure out I could use my feet to nudge them from their sandy beds.  (I never said I’m quick, it took me a while to figure out a less painful way to check for brokenness.)

I kept walking.

I kept looking.I kept nudging. I alternated between toes and hands when I thought I wasn’t being thorough.

Between nudges and signs, I mechanically, I snapped pictures. More out of habit than heart. More of scientific documentation than search for beauty. The more pieces of sand dollars I found, the more frustrated I became.  “With all these pieces… there HAS to be a whole one here, somewhere. Or maybe, this beach lies.” (Slight paranoia may have been setting in. Maybe a delayed reaction to the anesthesia? Or, maybe just me…)

I found all kinds of shells. I filled my pockets with them. For Noah. But, I was disappointed. I wanted a sand dollar. I didn’t want whelks or mollusks, oysters or scallops. I didn’t want sea sponges or sea weeds. I wanted a sand dollar.

I know finding whole sand dollars on the beach is rare. I didn’t care.  I WANT ONE. NOW. (more…)