I guess this New York City girl is now a nature enthusiast to the extreme! Our recent sand dollar experience proves it.
Do you remember that famous story about a girl that throws a starfish back into the sea one at a time along the shoreline? When the girl was told by an onlooker that what she was doing wouldn’t matter much, she replied “it matters to that one” and threw another starfish back into the sea.
Well, I have a sand dollar story to share. The other day we happened upon a little island while boating and we couldn’t believe how many live sand dollars were in the water and on the sand, green, fuzzy and thriving. They weren’t white and dry like you buy them in a store. My kids were really interested in them and so were we adults, actually. Other kids were getting them out of the water and hauling them home, showing them off to us, and even offering them to us. My family enjoyed holding them and looking at them, but then we’d each throw the sand dollars back into the water… to keep on living… and we left with only memories as souvenirs.
Now I wasn’t always like this. In fact, when I was a teen, my folks took me to the Bahamas and we had some natives dive down and get us a couple of starfish that we brought back as souvenirs. Back then it seemed like the most normal thing to want to do. I still remember the shock on my kids’ faces when they first would hear about my youthful vacation and the starfish experience, though. They invariably asked why would I do that because didn’t it kill the starfish? Boy that made me feel lousy.
Turns out they had a very good point. I’ve learned from life, from my kids, I don’t know from where else exactly but now I feel the same way as the kids do. I wonder, why DID I want to do that? Oh well, the past is done. But now, we CAN save the sand dollars (and the starfish) one at a time at least.
I guess the other day we all just wanted to save this little bit of marine life. We cared about the little guys in nature. I thought, “now what would happen if ALL the people who came here took the sand dollars out to keep as souvenirs? Then we wouldn’t have had the special magic we found for a little while together on that little strip of sand and sea. And my teenager wouldn’t have said “That was cool, let’s go back there. I liked all the sand dollars that live there”. This straight from the mouth of a known computer enthusiast who spends as much time as possible accompanied by his computer!
With each passing year I can better see the importance of protecting and trying to save the environment and wildlife. Have I been better educated? Am I just more mature? Maybe. But I think it’s more because I can see the picture better through the eyes of my children who seem to see the world through a special focus and help me to see some facets that I might otherwise miss.
So let’s not give up caring for the environment just because we think we can’t save it all or make a big enough impact. If we each do our small part, then we’ll be able to help keep nature’s magic around for ourselves and for our future generations to learn from and enjoy. We’ll play a supporting role in the drama of our living environment when we choose to receive and give… the gifts of a sand dollar.