An abnormally mild January morning, I come upon an unusual find. Clusters of sanderlings moving in tandem encircle the water’s edge, arriving at their summer sandy beach habitat four months early.
Sanderlings usually descend on our Rhode Island coastlines sometime in May and return again from July through October. They are rare in winter.
On spindly legs, these interesting creatures run ahead of oncoming waves in parties of ten to twelve. They weave a magical dance, as they hop, lunge and fly about with nervous energy.
Members of the sandpiper family, sanderlings are about eight-inches tall and have a white head and underbelly, gray upper parts, short bill and heavily spotted back. The bend of their wing is black.
Warmed by bright sunshine, I sit in our truck with the window wide open on this windless day. The Sakonnet sparkles like diamonds, flashing pools of light that rhythmically wash ashore. I am content, as I ponder the sanderlings mysterious comings and goings.
A biblical verse comes to mind: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” (Psalms 19:1)
Like the sandpipers these days, I am in unchartered territory. This is my second blog post, and I’m flying solo. As a journalist, I am taking a small step outside my usual sphere. I still hold a corporate job that I love, and sometimes I long to fly back into the fold, surrounded by colleagues in my comfort zone. But as I taste my freedom, I nudge myself forward and venture a little farther on unfamiliar turf.
A blog offers the author endless possibilities. I am no longer limited by geographic borders or topics.
As a nature and spirituality writer, I am going on pilgrimage to explore and rediscover the world around me and take you along.
“I watch the running sheets of light raised on the creek’s surface. The sight has the appeal of the purely passive, like the racing of light under clouds on a field, the beautiful dream at the moment of being dreamed,” said Annie Dillard in “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.” “The breeze is the merest puff, but you yourself sail headlong and breathless under the gale force of the spirit.”
I leave the sanderlings and seagulls at the seashore, and on a wing and a prayer, I embark on this spiritual journey. Migrate with me.