Faces in the Sand

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

This morning, on our sunrise walk on the beach, I noticed again the strange and somehow charming collections of debris washed up by the tides. I thought, “Where did all this come from? How did debris from vast rivers and oceans come to be gathered in these particular arrangements on this particular morning on this particular beach on Sanibel Island?” Of course, it’s impossible to answer this question, given the infinite complexity of events and situations that led these vagabond sticks and shells and leaves to finally land and assemble here, together, in these one-of-a-kind designs.

     And what about me? What about the one-of-a-kind collection of atoms and cells and feelings and thoughts that are making, right here and now, the one-of-a-kind ‘person’ called ‘me’ and ‘Ham’. How did this happen? Where did all these atoms and cells and feelings and thoughts come from? And how is it happening once again, in a brand new way, even as I’m writing these words? 

     The wonderful, liberating answer is that there is no answer. How this ‘me’ called ‘Ham’ arrived here, right now, at 9:54 a.m. on February 11, 2020, on a beach on Sanibel Island, is every bit as mysterious and unexplainable as the gathering together of these collections of ocean debris. For me, this answer is liberating, because it gives me the welcome relief that ‘I’ don’t have to organize and care for ‘my’ life, because the infinite winds and waves of never-ending Life (sometimes called God) are already – and always – doing it. Each and every moment, the wayfaring atoms and cells and feelings and thoughts that will make up what is called ‘Hamilton Salsich’ are assembled in a totally new way on the endless shore of Life, and this washed-up collection called ‘me’ is as bizarre and captivating and beautiful as the gatherings of debris on Sanibel Island this morning.

Here are a few of the beach gatherings I found today. Many of them I photographed exactly as I found them, but true – I made minor adjustments to a few so as to bring out the face hidden in them. Now, I see a face in each of them. I wonder: Where did these faces come from? Who are they?

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Here’s a happy pair at sunrise …

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