A Pocket Full of Sand Dollars

This week, in a cabin in the woods of Vermont, I sang a camp song at the top of my lungs.  “The other day I saw a bear….a great big bear away up there”…and then miraculously that night at the dinner table..where I had sat each year for fifteen July summer soul reviving weeks… I glanced up and watched as for the first time a black bear meandered across the drive.

The following morning as I sat sipping a piping hot mug of coffee, I was explaining that the bush beside me was a butterfly bush acted as a drop-by spot for hummingbirds.  And, at that moment, at that exact moment, a hummingbird flew by and was gone in the next moment.  I tell you this because it makes the rest of my story more understandable.  Well, for you critics,  perhaps just the evidence to prove it is all explainable … or merely a flight of fancy.
Fast forward to today.  I am walking solo on Cranes Beach, a jewel of the north shore Massachusetts.  I am taking the time to settle the racing thoughts and stories about what chemo will do to change my life.  It is my second bout with breast cancer, a statement I never expected to make since 19 years later, I am still in denial about the first time.  So I am walking the beach now…singing Joni Mitchell … and thinking “wow…you are are pretty good”…and I look down at the ground and say:
“I need a sign Universe.  A sign that at the end of this cancer journey I will be whole again.”

And I decide the sign is a sand dollar.  A whole sand dollar…that has survived the ocean and the birds..the weather and the people and landed on the beach to share that message of survival with me.  So this beach is no Sannebel Island, but I decide to be hopeful and open to receive the sign.

I spot something…it is broken but clearly a sand dollar.  Is this the sign I will be broken but survive?  Not the answer I was hoping for…I rinse it off and but it in the deep jersey pocket of my Bermuda shorts.

A minute later I find another piece.  Does it start to form a whole?  No it does not. Perhaps a piece pf the puzzle…in pocket it goes.

More singing..some dancing in the pond water with my head thrown back and gaze in the soft layered clouds.

Some time down the beach I spot it.  A graveyard of half sand dollars resting and left by the tide.  I pick one up.  But it crumbles…too weak to survive.  I pick up  a second and it disappears too.  No.  Surely this is not the sign.  I do not want this to be my sign.

And then it appears.  A full healthy totally beautiful miraculous sand dollar.  It is my sign.  I hold it.  I cry.  I feel hope filling my every pore.  I put it fly it my pocket with the pieces.  I fantasize that it will accompany me to my treatments…obvious to all…I will be whole.  This cancer free body is whole.

I  am walking  faster… and another sand dollar spears… full and dark.  I add it thinking… oh, the world is interconnected and this is a reminder I am not doing this alone.  And then another… reddish in tint.. followed by a perfect new color addition.

I am walking now with a pocket full of sand dollars.

When we ask.  And we are ready the universe speaks.

And then again. Maybe this is just a very good year for sand dollars.