The surf pounded with a roaring intensity and the huge waves rolled in one after another. They all stood together; Nora, her father and her two brothers. Standing there, with the water waist high, she could feel the sand travel through her toes as it ebbed and flowed with the undertow. Her brothers were leaping over each wave and fearlessly plunging into the larger ones that rolled towards them. They were having fun ~ and she was frightened!
“I want to go back to the beach!” She yelled …. over the roaring surf.
She struggled to maintain her balance and held tightly to her father’s hand.
“No!” He said. “You’ll be fine!” He shouted back.
Nora hesitantly pulled her hand out of his and let go. As she started heading back to the beach where her mother was, she heard her father call to her. “Go ahead then! You’ll have to make it back on your own.”
The waves and the undercurrent were stronger than she anticipated and she found herself being knocked off balance. It was too late to turn back and she was determined to get back to the safety of the beach.
Suddenly she plunged into a deep hole that had been created by the undertow. Instantly, she lost her footing and couldn’t find the ocean floor to stand back up again. It was hard to tell where the top of the water was. When she opened her eyes all that she could see was the murky salt water and the long pieces of her hair floating around her.
It seemed like she floated there for a while and she didn’t fight it. A strange sense of calm came over her.
Then, in an instant, she was scooped out of the water by strong arms. It was her father and he took her by the hand to lead her over to the blanket on the beach. He seemed angry at her as she gasped and cried. “Here!” he said to her mother, “Keep her here with you!”
Shaking and shivering as her mother put a towel around her, Nora was relieved that she was safe again. Her mother gave her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and led her over to a towel that was laid out on the sand. There she sat eating her P&B sandwich and thinking about what had just happened to her in the ocean. As she gazed out at the vastness of the sea and the power that she had just experienced, four-year-old Nora thought about the important lesson she learned that day.