Poop on the Dunes
I know what I see. And I certainly know when I see poop on the dunes.
In my adult mind, I connect new knowledge to old knowledge. This process allows me to store the data correctly in the proper file drawer for a faster retrieval.
You see, at this stage in my life, there is a lot of stuff rolling around in my head. Like steel orbs in a pinball machine, it is banging all over the place. When new stuff is launched, it needs to find a familiar place to land. So, when I join two pieces of knowledge together, I can put the combination in a safe place and my chance to remember it later improves.
Young children are like little sponges. They soak up everything, no matter how disjointed. They can focus on one thing and are direct and simple in their reporting. They see it. They announce it. How refreshing! No interpretation. No political correctness.
I was lucky to spend the majority of my July days this summer with my two young grandchildren at the beach. It gave me quite a bit of time to see the world through their lenses. I loved every moment.
Each day, the beach looked different. The height of the waves changed. The undertow shifted. Every day, a new collection of sea life came ashore. One day, the light gray sand mixed with wide swirls of dark bluish-black particles. Standing with my six-year-old grandson at the shoreline, I observed him trying to figure out what had happened.
“Look Mimi,” Max observed, “The sand got bruised by the waves,” he laughed as he cheerfully headed to the water’s edge.
Wow! The shiny wet surface did look like a smattering of natural hematomas on the hide of a large animal. Hmm—m-m- why didn’t I see that?
On another afternoon, we went to the beach in the late afternoon after a particularly stormy morning. The sea had been churning all night. It was low tide and blobs of sea foam rolled on the flat sand as far as we could see.
My adult brain went scientific. I thought about the salt water and the constant agitation. But, my darling Max giggled, “It looks like a giant washing machine!” He ran ahead kicking the foam while I thought, But of course. Why didn’t I see that? The yellow tinged rolls of bubbles kept pushing up further on the sand until they covered the entire beach in front of us. I couldn’t help but make a connection to the I Love Lucy episode when Lucy put too much detergent into her new machine. But, I was not the one who came up with the simple idea of the washing machine on the beach. Max did.
Poop on the dunes! Max alerted us one day as we walked on the pathway to the waterfront. Sure enough, glistening on top of one of the sand banks was a perfect canine specimen. I connected Max’s simple observation to one of my favorite scenes in Caddy Shack when Bill Murray, the country club handy man, is called upon to drain the swimming pool after a suspicious floater is spotted. Murray taps in to his juvenile side. He sniffs it, and then deems it to be a popular candy form and takes a bite.
On that day, numerous adults had passed ahead of us. I did not hear one warning of the upcoming danger until Max made his shout-out. Each subsequent day as we passed the tiny brown log, Max let us know that it was still there with his familiar battle cry, poop on the dunes!
Just the facts, Ma’am Joe Friday reminded us on the popular late 60’s police show Dragnet.
How refreshing it would be if we could all take that advice along with a child’s simple approach to reporting. Cut down on the chatter. Less rhetoric. Fewer long-winded opinions. Make factual announcements and let the listener process it. Maybe this tactic could even reduce everyone’s stress level.
After all, once we hear an announcement of poop on the dunes, we know what to do. Walk around it.
I look forward to another summer stint at the beach. It never gets old. And I am sure there will be at least one alert of poop on the dunes!
( Previously posted as Poop on the Dunes on 8/24/14. Edits made and pictures added.)