Musings, Photography, travel

Lessons Learned from the Beach

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Henry David Thoreau

I am a beach person. I love the sand, the salty air, the shells, literally everything. The open air and slow pace make me feel free and at peace. Last week my family was on our annual beach trip, and one of the things I try to do every year is look for shells.


What was interesting though, is that as I picked through the thousands of shells on the beach, I didn’t really find anything worth keeping, and went back a bit dejected. It was right at low tide, and we were on a quiet end of the island that was supposed to be excellent for shelling, thus I expected to find something beautiful.


Later I came out with my camera (I thought might as well since I couldn’t find any shells). I still didn’t find any shells to keep, but I found something else.


I found out that I was so caught up in looking for the perfect shell – something big and exciting – that I missed all of the beauty that God had placed right in front of me.


For example, I had walked past dozens of bits of seaweed, but only saw it as getting in the way of my shells.


I never even looked at the houses, missing this adorable cottage and many others.  


And perhaps the best thing that I would have missed were these sand people that someone had built (they did a phenomenal job too – they had ears, noses, and cheekbones made from sand).


And that is why I love photography. It forces me to look at what’s in front of me and see it’s beauty. But it also forced me to realize this: Sometimes, I get so caught up in looking for the perfect shell (trips, events, etc.) and I miss all of the beautiful things right if front of me (sunsets, days at home, even going to work at my internships). So I’ve determined that I am going to start looking for the beauty in the little things that I normally pass over, and I challenge you to do the same.

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” Confucius

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