Monday, April 9, 2012

Rolling In Millions of Dollars

It's the day after Easter. I have had a wonderful weekend, full of family time and deep connection with my God and some pretty fantastic mind-blowing hot pink beets-and-horseradish sauce that blasted a completely whole new set of sinuses into my head. I have nibbled chocolate and laughed with my husband and played video games and ate way too many eggs (which I will regret later when I try to poop 'em back out) and mostly talked up a storm.

So I woke up this morning and impulsively decided that today was all about the dollars. Millions and millions of them, and all just for me. Me, me, me, greedy selfish me. Well, me and the dog, since he is easily distracted and can be bought off pretty easily with a tablespoon of peanut butter or a Ritz.

These are the dollars I am talking about. Sand dollars, at Sand Point Beach in Federal Way. This is a tiny segment of the giant expanse of sand dollar colonies that are exposed when the tide goes out. I had no idea. Every ripple, every little irregularity in the sand is the edge or the bottom or the top of a sand dollar. And for every one you see, there are fifteen under the sand. Each of them range in size from an inch to three inches in diameter. There are, without exaggeration, millions of them in a 1/4 mile stretch of the beach. Probably billions.

If you look closely at a living one it reveals itself to be a velvety purpled button. The part of the dollar we are used to seeing, the white with the incised flower pattern in the middle, is the skeleton, completely hidden from view when the dollar is alive. The living dollar has a thick softness to its appearance that you would expect to find on an expensive coat collar in a Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom's. It's positively luxurious in appearance, with a deep eggplant purple hue, sumptuous, touchable, begging to be caressed. Here is one resting in a small pool...

The photo doesn't begin to do it justice. It's a perfect little circle of beauty, shyly hiding itself with a wisp of seaweed.

Sand Point Beach is mostly known for its picnics and dog friendly areas. Teenage boys wearing ridiculously baggy shorts over their skinny boy-butts run with little boogie boards, jump on them and glide for ten seconds at a time on the glassy sands. Toddlers waddle along the low tide line, dipping chubby feet and hands in the water and giggling to their indulgent moms, walking slowly alongside, snapping photos for posterity. Tweener boys look for chunks of seaweed they can throw at their little sisters. Tweener girls in packs line up along the water's edge and take videos of themselves grinning and laughing as they cram their faces up close to their cell phones. One elderly woman in shorts and wearing a floppy hat slowly meanders out to the spot where the crows call to each other, sits on a chunk of driftwood and contemplates the horizon. A tattooed 30-something guy sprawls out in a lawn chair and drinks a beer or five. Nobody pays any attention to me or the dog, which suits me perfectly.

And for three leisurely hours, the dog and I wandered around like sandy Rockefellers among millions of dollars, safe in knowing that, even if in some weird universe I inherited all of them, my life would still be pretty ordinary, I'd still be driving my '95 Camry with the dents in the rear bumper and I'd still know exactly who my friends are.

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