Sand In My Smile


The sand felt heavy under my toes this morning, as I took my morning walk along the beach. Heavy, cool and damp from the rains overnight. The beach is my haven and I find it fascinating for the daily routines of people and nature that can be observed if one looks closely.

There are the elderly ladies that take their early morning swim at the southern end of the beach. I watch as they gingerly dip their wrinkled toes in the water and wade out beyond the small waves, their hair as white as clouds and fragile arms held out for balance. There was an elderly couple today and I could see how the years had moulded them into one. The gentleman didn’t so much as let go of his lady once whilst they stumbled through the larger waves. Such is a love that lasts a lifetime. I admired their courage (these waters are cold), their love and sense of togetherness.

There are the dog walkers with woofs of all shapes and sizes. I find myself veering towards them if I like the look of their dog – heaven only knows if they think I am stalking them or have some weird obsession and can’t walk in a straight line. I adore the companionship of dogs and was lucky enough to meet a sparky and proud Irish Terrier today. He was a corker; all wiry copper blonde hair, wet gum drop nose and ears pricked and ready for action. His name…Fluff. I bumped into the owner of this dog on my return home and he proudly presented me with his wife and the words “I’ve brought my other Irish Terrier along this time”. How we laughed, even his wife.

There is the man with the ball. The ruby red ball and the ever present smile on his face. I see him every day on his own with his cherished ball. He spends hours playing with this shiny bouncing ball; kicking it round, tossing it in the air and he always looks so content. I wonder what brought him to this? He even takes his ball for a swim and can often be seen swimming with the ball by his side. Evidently it is an excellent swimming companion and always handy for a float.

I have made it my mission to say good morning to everyone I pass on the beach and wish them well for the day. I know how much it brightens my day when people do this for me. It was met with a mixed response and today I counted at least 5 people that looked at me as if I were insane and promptly moved on without a word or hint of recognition. Thankfully Irish Terrier Man and his jovial nature more than made up for them. And these are just the people….

Two giant jellyfish had been washed up with the tide; plump as wood pigeons, glistening in the sun like amethyst jewels and nestled on the sand. One of them was being nibbled by snails with shells shaped like ice-cream cones and I watched other snails making their way slowly across the sand to join the feast. These snails were long-distance travellers indeed…I picked up all the snails I could find and put them on their jellyfish and watched them nibbling away contentedly. I wonder if they knew I had helped them.

I bumped into Prince again today, sitting in the sunshine making his bead animals. It makes me sad that he is instantly recognisable for the slippers on his feet and the tattered t-shirt he wears every day. We got to chatting on the bright red bench facing the ocean and he gave me a gift. He had made me a photograph holder from beads and wire, inscribed with my name and the shape of a shark. He told me how he was going to throw the beads and wire away last time we met, as he felt they were worthless, but after I had told him he couldn’t waste such beautiful beads he kept them and made this gift. His thought and kindness made my day and he won’t accept any payment or charity from me. We have agreed a commission for someone very dear to me but even then he haggled the price down. I listened as he talked of his dreams, how he isn’t sure what to do with his life and I just wished I could do more for him. We shared funny stories and jokes and laughed out loud at the stares of others passing by.

But I can’t help wondering, is my listening ear really enough? Is it enough to just smile, listen and offer words of encouragement to everyone in the hope that it will change their world just for a moment? I’d like to think it is and I leave you with this.

13 thoughts on “Sand In My Smile”

  1. Hi Kat, I’ve just read your story on Free Range Humans. I wanted to say well done. You write beautifully. I relate to many aspects of your story and I can’t help feeling that maybe life has been leading you to where you are truly meant to be. The call of the sharks has been in your life since you were young . Love your site. Tell Prince he’s making amazing things! Enjoy South Africa – it’s a beautiful part of the world.

    1. Hi Anita, Thank you so much for your feedback and comments! It means a great deal to me to hear you feel I write well – thank you. I too think life has been leading me to this path and I hope my story inspires people to NEVER GIVE UP dreaming and to think big and fly free. We all have a dream and we all have the power to make it come true 🙂 I shall pass on your comment to Prince about his work…I am determined to help him see the beauty and value in what he does. Have a lovely day, Kat

  2. Hi Kat, I’m another of the Free Rangers and I just read your story in Marianne’s email – WOWZERS! It was just magical, congratulations on breaking free and being awesome. It was a real lift to my morning : )

    1. Hi Gemma, Hey thank you so much for you kind words! I am delighted I lifted your morning and hope you had an awesome day today. Congratulations to you too being a Free Ranger. What a wonderful tribe to be a part of 😀

  3. Hi! I’m another Free Ranger. I’ve just read your story and it had me in tears. It’s a real inspiration. I’m just starting my free range journey, and yours is a real inspiration. Enjoy the sunshine, you certainly deserve it!

    1. Hi Anne, I can’t tell you how much that means to hear I inspired you – wow! You know this is just the beginning for me too and I know it isn’t easy to keep believing at times. Enjoy every moment of your journey, keep strong and positive and let us know how you get on.I would love to hear. All fingers crossed for you here in South Africa x

  4. Hi Kat, I also read your story on Free Range Humans, I think it’s amazing what you have done. I also have moved to South Africa recently from Ireland to do my masters and you have made me feel like it wasn’t such a crazy thing to do since you have done something similar! Thank you!

    1. Hi Aoife, That’s awesome you too moved to South Africa! Thank you for your lovely words, they mean so much to me. I hope you are having a wonderful time and it has been worth the scary leap into the unknown…in fact I know it’ll be worth it, you are living YOUR dream. If you make it down to Fishhoek or Simons Town at all let me know and we can meet up and toast all the incredible Free Rangers out there. Enjoy the sunshine!

  5. Kat, I read your story in Marianne’s newsletter this morning and I just wanted to say “Kudos to YOU ” my dear, for following your heart. You have been through much pain and heartbreak in your young life and have come out on the other side brave, strong and living your dream. Thank you for sharing your journey and being a super-shining example to others. Congratulations and wishing you much joy in your new life.

    1. Hi Terri, Aw thank you so much. I hadn’t realised that following my heart (at long last) could be so rewarding! I finally feel like I am finding me. I hope you too have much joy and sunshine in your life. Take care now xx

  6. Hey…I’m over here in Maryland…the United States. I just read your story in Marianne’s Friday Love Letter. Good for you 🙂 I am happy for you. Keep pressing forward. Yeah…I can sympathize with those heartbreaks…but hey, those experiences don’t make us any less beautiful, inside and out. You ARE beautiful AND courageous. You are not alone, by any means. And if anything, you’ve got a treasure chest full of mercy, love, patience…and a generosity. And let that creativity flow 🙂 I pray God’s grace and peace over you. Blessings…yay 😀

    1. Hey Yevonnie! Thank you so much for your lovely words and your happiness. I will definitely keep pressing forwards even when my courage falters! You are SO right about those experiences making us richer in our treasure chests and I love that thought of being beautiful inside and out 😀 Thank you. May peace and love flow your way too. Have a wonderful day and take care x

  7. Kat,

    If you bring aN iota of happiness into a life for the briefest of moments you will have done far more than you had to. If you brought that iota of happiness because you wanted to, because you care enough then you are elevated to the status of special. X Dave. (hope it’s warmer that bloody Bodmin x

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