Letter from Birdland | A plunge into the surf, while the critters revel

Letter from Birdland | A plunge into the surf, while the critters revel

When I left you last time, Michael and I were waiting on the beach on Half Moon Bay, Calif., for our boys, Ellis and Chandra, to come back with a surfboard.

Michael was still bodysurfing, but I had retired to a log on the beach to keep watch in case he got into trouble out there. I kept my eyes on him, wondering what I would actually do if he needed help.

Pulling him from the rough sea didn't seem likely, because I was sitting on the log after being knocked down one too many times. I looked up the beach and saw a young woman with two toddlers. I idly wondered whether she was certified in life saving.

I glanced back at the surf and — where was Michael?! I sprang into action, running toward the water, and — up he bounced out of the foam. I stopped short, so he wouldn't see my concern. Michael came back to the beach. "Boy," he said, cheerfully. "Those waves take a lot out of you!"

The sand was soft, and I amused myself by walking around to see what the surf had pulled from the ocean. It was mostly tiny crab parts, broken in the waves, but occasionally jellyfish marooned on the wet part of the beach where the waves don't quite reach any more.

The jellyfish were the size of dinner plates and a couple of inches thick. They lay there pulsing, colorless except for some pale purple spots arranged around the center. While I watched, a child of about four or five came with a blue plastic shovel and scooped one up. I thought at first he was trying to save it, but he took it away from the water over to a sandy bluff and dumped it there.

When the boys returned with their surfboard, Chandra gave everyone a lesson on the beach. He lay the board down and showed us how to paddle, like swimming through the sand. He explained what to do if we run into a rip tide and gave hints about how to keep your balance.

I didn't pay attention to the details after the rip tide lesson and kept mulling over his instructions. Though Michael had professed exhaustion a few minutes before, he went in with the boys. They took turns with the board, while I again watched from my log.

We had a posse of three friends tag-teaming critter care, and my phone was lighting up with their messages. When I finally got back to civilization, I found this conversation:

Gayle: Barb, you are good doing the dogs tonight and tomorrow morning, right?

Barb: Yep! (thumbs up) that's my plan.

Gayle: Thanks! Poor Cullen is full of prickly things and sticks.

Barb: Yikes! Did he get loose and run amuck?

Gayle: No, but maybe they were in his fur from day one. (Mary's note. Yep — he got out the night before we left. I had time to comb about half of the burs out of his fur.)

Bill: I let him run around a while Sunday, but I don't think he went out of the mowed yard very much. He did run at some super high speed some huge laps around the yard. I was pretty amazed at the energy in those little green scoops of food.

Barb: Hahahah

Gayle: I know! That hardly looks like enough for a kitty, let alone a big dog.

Barb: I'd be model thin on those rations, but the pups are in great health, so it works for them. (heart, rainbow, dog, dog)

Bill: He was amazingly fast for such a big and calm dog!!

Gayle: Oh, and that Ursula IS a thief, Mary's right. She snagged the can of fish food when my back was turned, but she only had time to slobber on it ...

Bill: She was probably after the flea pills! The dogs seem to like them.

And this is how I know my dogs are in good hands with my faithful friends. We are grateful for their help in keeping the home fires burning.

Plunge in beauty; surf in peace; blessed be.

Mary Lucille Hays lives in Birdland near White Heath. She loves to travel, especially if she can visit her boys. Happy Birthday, Dad. Miss you every day! You can follow Birdland on Instagram (@BirdlandLetters) and Twitter (@BirdlandLetters). Mary can be reached at letterfrombirdland@gmail.com or via snail mail care of this newspaper.

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