My dad is a pretty entertaining guy. As a kid, and far before Discovery Channel introduced shows like “Man vs. Wild,” my dad would explore in the woods, teaching himself little survival skills. He grew up on Long Island and while the island is very overdeveloped, back then the swamps, hills, and beaches offered a lot for him to learn from. I took the same mindset as a kid, so I flourished when my parents and I moved to upstate NY. Recently, my dad told my friend and I his favorite memory of me. To my surprise it’s a story from before we moved, when I was about four or five years old and still lived on the north shore.
One afternoon my parents and I went on a walk at a park on the Sound. We walked down a hill to a path along the water. There was no shandy shore here, instead, a small rock wall acted as a guard for the salt water below it. As my parents walked on the path, I balanced along with them atop the flat of the rock wall close to the water.
It was close to low tide, so the water was two yards below the top of the rock wall and a little less than a yard deep. We could easily see the sandy floor so when my dad spotted them, he excitedly pointed them out for me. “Amanda, look! There are about 20 horseshoe crabs!”
Without response, I plunged beyond the wall and into the water. My parents rushed to see where I’d jumped and saw me under the surface. Seconds before my dad followed, I resurfaced with a horseshoe crab by its tail in each hand. I was beaming, apparently. I wish I remembered this moment like my dad does, though I fully believe him. Our closeness to nature led me to have dozens of encounters like this in my childhood, some I even find hard to believe.
To this day, I respect nature more with every fact I learn about the incredible mysteries we live with on this planet. Thinking about these things puts my life in a perspective I almost always forget to take—one in which I hope to play a part, even if it is in a way I never know about.
Why do we all exist? Is it for humankind that we live, or for something much bigger than us all? I’ll bounce that thought around from time to time before giving it up, knowing I’ll go crazy if I focus on it. It’s funny to think our purpose could be for one moment, if everything happens for an ultimate reason. And even more funny, and like my dad’s memory, is if it’s a moment we individually forget that’s burned into the mind of another forever.