The Ladies on the Beach



I saw them as I came down the steps from the dunes above. Bent over, digging in the sand, both women focused on something while they dug into slabs of wet sand left by the recent high tide. Still jazzed and surprised at the discovery of thousands of ladybugs paired off and mating on the rocks and all over the beach, I walked with my head down toward the two women. Beach glass of every size and color beneath my feet created a frenzy of pure delight. Now, what is it about those pieces of glass that gives us absolutely no choice but to put them ALL in our pockets? My favorite is that soft, billowy aquamarine that makes me feel like I’m wrapped in a cottony shawl.


Of course, my monkey mind never really takes a break, so each time I picked up a piece of glass and lovingly put it in the back pocket of my jeans, I was so conflicted. That glass was there because we aren’t recycling. It must have been so bountiful because the ocean is full of bottles! It’s wrong to feel the joy of aquamarine glass ever again. Crazy with a dash of truth. I kept gathering it until I was way past the two ladies digging their own “treasure”.


Time to go work now, I thought. My two-year-old self tried an internal temper tantrum before my Mama self took my hand, turned me around and gently took me toward the stairs. Moving nearer my sad departure, one of the women came walking toward me with a sweet smile saying, “Hey, come here. I want to give you something.” Opening her hands, there were pieces of what looked like artifacts of some kind. Rock-like, patterns that looked Mayan, round things that looked for all the world like beads that had washed up and buried themselves one more time.


She gently lifted them one by one and laid them in my open hand. Then, I noticed her nails, black with dirt that had been there long before the beach day. Her teeth looked like those artifacts, broken and stained. Leathery tanned skin that looked Mayan.  Then, up against the dunes I saw the sleeping bags and belongings. She was homeless. That area of the beautiful Monterey coast houses many homeless men and women. And there she was giving me “a gift”.


I was moved to tears as I thanked her and looked at each one. Standing there without any expectations of anything from me, I felt the joy she felt. It wasn’t about the stones and glass, but the way our hearts felt when we gave and received. The beach was beautiful that day…ladybugs by the thousands making new babies, ocean waves crashing, fog blowing gently by. But the most beautiful thing of all were those “gifts” from the lady on the beach.


Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”

Donna’s Big Red Chair   510-817-4242

Offices in Carmel and Emeryville, CA

I also work remotely with clients all over the US via Skype and Face Time


  1. Jessica Engle on May 6, 2017 at 1:23 pm


  2. Barbara Blums on May 9, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Beautiful story So glad to read this moment and am uplifted.

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