Later in the morning I am on the beach giving an ecotour to a group of students. One young man is in a wheel chair. His legs are bent and twisted. I roll him along the beach, looking for shark's teeth and interesting marine life. He is interested and engaging. He tells me that he is the oldest in his class. But he isn't bothered by that. It is just a number he tells me.
A young girl draws a heart in the sand. Under it she writes her name and that of her real or hoped for boyfriend, joined by a plus. She is twelve years old but looks much older with makeup and adult clothes. She is intent in making her letters deep, hoping that they won't be erased by the rising tide.
A group of young girls walk along together whispering and giggling. Suddenly they break into loud squeals of delight as they see dolphins breaking the surface of the water. Their wide smiles reveal braces. For a few moments they forget their talk of hair and clothes and boys. One comes up to show me a shell that she found. It is perfectly formed.
The men children stand aloof, pretending disinterest. One is wearing a fedora that he said he bought today. Another boy comes up to ask me if he can help move the fenders from one side of the boat to the other as we prepare to dock. He tells me he knows how to tie a clove hitch from Boy Scouts. I get him to move the fenders. The other boys watch him but hang back in their coolness.
Between tours I meet with a sponsee. He tells me that he is starting to let go and feel less anxious about outcomes. He thinks that he is starting to feel the power of recovery working in his life. He sees that the promises are real.
Later in the day I go to the grocery store. I see an elderly couple walking out holding hands. I run into a fellow I know who has 24 years in recovery. He tells me that he has to go work on the dairy case because he has gotten a promotion. He is no longer stocking shelves but is the dairy case manager. He is pleased about this and his gratitude for a job is obvious.
These are just some of the people I interacted with today, yet they stuck in my mind. They reminded me of how many paths there are in life, how many chapters yet to be written. I briefly was in their life today. And they each touched mine.