When camouflage is not needed
A daybreak beach jog — the pre-bike adventure — was met with a horde of humans a few decades too old to be active-duty decked in vintage war-be-gone fatigues, packing large cameras, 12 inch lenses and 2 inch straps secured around their necks. They stood at the top of wooden walkways, the dune gateway to the ocean, two dozen of ’em by random guess — half intently focused on something happening toward the ocean, and the other half focused on the movements of a potential intruder. What are you looking at, I asked hoping the answer wouldn’t be ‘me’, as I slowed my gate, inching closer to the crowd. A man wearing head-to-toe camouflage replied ‘burs and turles’ without looking away from his binoculars oblivious to a drawl with interchangeable vowels and missing consonant’s.
I wanted to ask if it wouldn’t make more sense to just walk the beach to look for turtles, birds too for that matter, but I realized this group of ex-active-duty took their role as nature-spotters seriously and thought best to swallow that comment. Have you seen any? and several muttered a collective no to which I responded with a few excuse-me and thank you’s and the group parted just enough for me to pass through. Off I wandered for my morning beach jog hoping I might see one of those birds or turtles without all that special equipment.
Was that a sea creature tumbling toward shore?
The surf broke big , crashing with a booming cadence thanks to 20 knots of wind from the south, and it didn’t take long before my vision became a blur of tears from wind and sand. Vigorously wiping my eyes, and further clouding any chance of clarity, I saw a large object rolling in with the surf. The creature struggled for footing, going back out to sea if only for an instant before being shoved closer and closer to shore. I stared, rigorously wiping the wind-tears and demanding my eyes find clear sight. The large object rolled closer, and I watched a turtle roll to shore.
My first instinct was to initiate a rescue mission, then thought perhaps it didn’t need my saving, so I continued to watch, proud that I didn’t need any fancy camera equipment or camouflage to discover this sea gift.
Objects appear fuzzy to blurred vision
Wiping the sand and tears one last time from my eyes, I stepped into the cold ocean waters, reaching down to grab the back of this creature. Who could see a thing at this point with ocean spray covering my face and sand whipped eyes, and until that moment my plan hadn’t given a thought to the notion that the creature might bite.
I had it in my hands. It wasn’t moving, and it sure felt hard with jagged edges. The creature pushed to shore by an under-ocean current of who-knows-how-long was definitely not a turtle, and perhaps if I had one of those fancy cameras with the extra-zoom lenses I would have noticed that earlier, but I had the beast in my hands and decided it was a treasure just the same.
The large, heavy multi-layered sea-rock with fossil shells embedded into each layer of hundred-plus-years had no intention of biting back. With both hands, I proudly carried my sea treasure fossil rock back toward the camouflage peeps, imagining their looks of envy at my treasure that resembled a turtle from a great distance to watery eyes of an amateur spotter. Nobody said a word, and I didn’t need to say excuse-me either, the camouflage people cowering in the dunes looked away as they parted a path for me to cross, still waiting for their own sea treasure.