Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Imagine yourself walking down an empty street and finding a dollar on the ground. What would you do? I think most people would look over their shoulders, and after finding no one there, pick it up & consider themselves lucky.

Now imagine you are walking down the street and hundreds of dollar bills are littered on the ground. Now what would you do?

I encountered a similar situation the other day that left me unsure. Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing...

I am one of those people who walks along the beach with my nose to the sand, searching fo
r tiny treasures. God help me if, someday, I end up with a metal detector & a bucket. I'm not looking for diamond rings, or anything of actual value, but I have always hoped to find a perfect sand dollar.

The beach that we often take our mangy
mutt to always has interesting treasures. One day, as we walked along the shore, I discovered millions-- literally millions of lady bugs on the sand, stretching out for at least 1/2 mile. As a little girl, I always thought I was sort of set apart & special if a lady bug landed on me... but millions of them in sand was a little too strange.

Another time, we discovered endless pieces of ruptured jelly fish. One jelly fish washed up on the shore is interesting (in a slightly morbid way), but miles of clear, slimy gel is just gross.

But Tuesday-- Tuesday as Chris & I walked along the beach & watched Gavin play in the waves, we discovere
d not one, but hundreds of perfect, whole sand dollars! I could hardly contain myself! After picking up a handful, I stopped and wondered, What am I going to do with a handful of sand dollars?

When I realized I could bring home several bucketfuls, two things happened:
1) I faced the moral dilemma of whether or not its wrong to take buckets of sand dollars home? Will I bring imbalance to the entire ecosystem here? I envisioned tsunami's, global warming, & a million other life-threatening scenarios. Maybe all those lady bugs had been on the beach before because someone had taken too many sand dollars away, and it disturbed a ladybug migration somewhere?

2) One perfect, whole sand dollar is special-- but what about hundreds? It no longer seemed like such a treasure. And besides, where am I going to put a hundred sand dollars? Do I want to be that old lady that collects shells & miniature porcelain dogs, displaying them in window sills, atop lacy doilies?

In the end, I brought home about 10 perfect, beautiful, unique sand dollars. Somehow, one still seems more special than 10, but I just couldn't stop myself. And I guess there's a small lesson for me there in simplicity & contentment. I don't need 10 when one is enough. As Americans, we live in such abundance-- food, clothes, entertainment...Oh that I would learn take only what I need, and to be content with what I already have.


Simple Diva said...

i like it.
I was actually thinking about similar things this morning- despite my love, love, love for the city I often feel that I am overwhelmed with its abundance and I realize my own greediness in 'needing' to have so many options- but maybe that i why I love this city because it challenges me

Simple Diva said...

btw: I am jealous- I have never found a perfect sand dollar!!

Anonymous said...

"There is always a sense of limitlessness in desire" Simone Weil

chris omar said...

i could break a bunch of them, then you'd only have 1 left :)