Yesterday I was moved to tears on the beach from one of the most beautiful sights I have ever laid eyes on. Mere words cannot begin to paint the picture I was blessed to have seen.
Monday morning we were saddened to hear that our warm glistening ocean dropped twenty degrees over night. At a freezing 54 degrees, swimming was now out of the question.
So my daughter and I brought down our cast net and threw it a few times, pulling out a tiny bait fish who posed for a picture and was immediately returned to the briny ocean.
It was then that we spotted a school of baby blue fish churning the ocean’s surface in front of us. “I’m going to go get my fishing rod!” my daughter exclaimed as she raced up the beach towards the steep wooden stairs. I called out, “Don’t go! They will be gone before you get back! Elizabethhhhhh!”
I knew it was too late as her tiny little hind-end disappeared over the dunes. Ten minutes later she reappeared with a fresh water rod, a hand towel, needle nose pliers and one single rubber bait. “Honey, the fish are gone…” “No they aren’t! I see them up there!” And off she flew.
I raced behind her until she finally stopped far up the beach, directly in front of the same school of fish. That’s my girl. I watched her toss in the line a few times, and I even cast it out further at her request.
It was then that we saw the first fin. And then another. We dropped the rod and stood mesmerized with a growing crowd of families as we watched the dance begin.
Just fifteen feet from where we stood, a pod of dolphins began feeding on the baby bluefish. They shot through the trough directly in front of us in the most majestic dance I have ever seen. Dolphins burst through the surface of the water and completely in to the air as small fish exploded around them. They swirled, turned, jumped and danced to a crowd of people who could not even speak.
The dolphins were so close we could see bits of seaweed hanging from their fins. Just a few steps in to the water and we could have touched them. My daughter slowly wrapped her hand inside of mine and tears welled in my eyes. No one spoke for those few minutes of shared wonder.
It ended almost as quickly as it began. You could hear a shared breath of air as the waters instantly stilled. People began to disburse, whispering at the magic we had all just shared.
Elizabeth and I began to head back, nearing another school of fish that was causing another crowd to assemble. “I’m going to fish!” she exclaimed as she tossed in her fresh water line.
Before I could cross my fingers she exclaimed, “I got one! I got one!” as she reeled in a baby blue. I think by then my heart was pounding out of my chest. I gently wrapped the fish in a towel to unhook it as the crowed looked on. I let a few small children take a peek at him before we put him back in the ocean.
I hugged my girl, wiped a tear and began to walk back towards our gear. We were both speechless.
As we walked I said a quiet prayer of thanks to God. Thank you for letting my daughter’s persistence override my initial answer about the school of fish. Thank you for her eagle eye and her uncanny connection to nature and its wonders. Thank you for giving me the skill to teach my little girl how to be a rocking fisherman. And then I whispered out loud to my daughter, “Thank you God for this magical morning.” She squeezed my hand and smiled. Thank you God.