Happy Inspirational Teens & Young Adult

The misty ocean breeze gently sweeps over the tiny hairs on my forearms. My cream striped linen button-down taps loosely against my chest and tummy while I lean back onto my elbows that hold my towel against the sand. The shorter pieces of hair near my face dance in delight, however the longer hair is safe from the flirtation of the breeze as it stays gathered in a low, messy bun below my handwoven brown paper sunhat. The quiet warm exhales of Mother Nature intimately welcome me at the beach.

As I await the sunset, the soft crashing of the waves provides the calming, rhythmic soundtrack to my reading. The corners of the pages flap happily as if they were wings of seagulls upon takeoff. Whooshhh. Flap. Flap. Whooshhh. Flap, flap, flap. These cyclical patterns syncopate my breaths to match hers.

My eyes close for a moment as I focus solely on inflating my lungs with the fresh salty air. I hold this breath for four counts. One, two, three, four. Then, I deliberately deflate my lungs for four counts again. One, two, three, four. I feel so good, almost too good. I ask myself, 'did I die and go to heaven?' With gratitude, I repeat this sequence a few more times.

Bliip. Bliiip! A bit of static muffles the sound of the ocean waves.

“What…? What is that atrocious sound?!” I sense, as my nose and eyebrows responsively scrunch together in dissatisfaction from the disturbance. I squint my eyes and look around me in search of the origin of the noise.


It is getting louder now. Then, I finally spot the culprit within a few feet behind me. My peaceful mini meditation is interrupted by the annoying electromagnetic static of a boy's cheap toy metal detector.

“A-ha! Come here, buddy! I think it detects something,” the older boy calls out to his brother as the metal detector incessantly beeps its high-pitched staticky signal. The two boys lunge onto their knees and begin to dig furiously into the sand. Grains of sand are flung messily and high into the air by their hastened excavation.

“We are going to be rich!” the younger boy declares. They persist sifting the sand with their hands.

I purse my lips to challenge the smirk that inevitably makes its way through to my cheeks. I shake my head as I giggle, remembering what it was like as a young child on a treasure hunt at the beach. Though I am older and much wiser now, I am on my own treasure hunt, seeking the gold that is in the sky. My attention reverts to the luxurious landscape overhead.

The breeze begins to feel a bit cooler against my skin as the warmth fades with the sun’s descent. Goosebumps ripple across my body, not unlike the way the ocean’s waves ripple far out into the distance and extend across the horizon. In the low sky just above the shimmering icy blue, a luminescent marigold halo suspends itself. This lasts mere seconds as it slowly sinks behind and beneath the deep-sea, creating a cotton-candy colored sky of light pinks and baby blues. The residual light reflects subtly off the ocean’s waves giving the white caps more of a lavender hue.

“What a breathtaking, brilliant view!” I whisper, holding my hand over my heart, hoping Mother Nature would accept my compliment. It is the very least I could do for all she provides without being asked.

The young boys overhear my whispers. The younger brother stands up from the quarry, sand sluffing off his knees and shins, and he exclaims, “That lady’s crazy! She is staring out into the sky, talking to herself!”

The older and much wiser brother remains unwavering from his digging. He responds, “Forget her. Look at what I found!” He reaches down and picks up two pennies unearthed in the sand pit. The boys rejoice in their fortune—one coin for each of them.

“Tomorrow, will we search for more?” the younger brother probes for reassurance.

The older boy nods and puts his arm around the younger brother's shoulders. He reassures him, “Sure thing, buddy. I will even let you manage the metal detector. It is a big responsibility, and I think you earned it today.” Then, the two boys excitedly dash off into the dimly lit distance.

Perhaps the outward appearance of staring off into the sunset seems strange to child. Who is to say they themselves are not crazy? After all, they are reveling in discovering buried treasures beneath the sand. They are defining their riches by a couple coins. On the contrary, my treasure is intangible and suspended in the sky. I revel in counting my abundance of glorious sunsets. Both are undeniable treasures, nonetheless, except they get to keep theirs.

A sunset is a scene not able to be entirely recreated by even the most talented of painters with the finest of brushes nor captured by the most skilled photographers with the best camera equipment. No, this phenomenon is only truly witnessed by the naked eye, bare skin, and a calm, receptive heart. A fully immersive moment of the galaxy’s perfect alignment is presented every day just for me, though I do not get to keep it. The splendor of the universe is fleeting, like an artist’s installment art—it is to be appreciated while it lasts. Such is my two cents.

Dusk reigns now, and the soft whistle of the breeze crescendos to a howl. My cream striped linen button-down is no longer loosely tapping against my skin but is slapping vigorously, the way sails flail and quiver high on a ship's masts. I sit up and wrap my towel around my shoulders to shield the warmth from escaping. I reach up to secure my sunhat by tightening the drawstring under my chin. The strong gusts were nudging me to head back home.

Before I depart, I take a few moments to reflect. I take another deep, slow breath, and hold it for four counts. One, two, three, four. Then, I exhale for four counts. One, two, three, four. I meditate with gratefulness for the sunset, the breeze, the waves, and for the two boys and their archaeological investigation. Today would not have been such a wonderful day without every part of it.

March 06, 2024 22:33

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Martha Kowalski
14:02 Mar 14, 2024

Mona, the imagery and detail in this is incredible!


Mona Jean
02:33 Mar 15, 2024

Thanks for reading my story, Martha!


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Laura McManaman
07:34 Mar 14, 2024

Now I miss the beach. “Such is my two cents.” - what a clever bit of commentary. Great job!


Mona Jean
02:34 Mar 15, 2024

Thanks for the specificity, Laura. Hope you can get back to the beach soon!


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Stephen Laviera
00:26 Mar 14, 2024

Brilliantly written and beautifully articulated. The scene was set perfectly. Well done, fantastic


Mona Jean
04:22 Mar 14, 2024

Thanks for the kind and encouraging words, Stephen.


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