An old, grumpy woman lives on the beach. She bellows out at beach goers,
“This is my property. Get off.” We have to pass her each day because the beach easement is beside her house.
She is an example to me. She has lived her life holding so tightly to her privilege of living on the beach, that she has destroyed its beauty and her own peace. Juanita is staunchly protective of her beachfront and has cluttered it with several “no trespassing” signs, ten or fifteen rusty beach chairs, and rotting umbrellas. The natural beauty is sorely diminished. She has frequently called police to remove unwitting beachcombers from lounging on" her" stretch of the sand. Juanita has been taken to court for her unruly behavior toward others and told repeatedly that her property line begins above the high tide line.
Now, she has been arrested because a loggerhead turtle made a nest on her beach and she destroyed the nest. Loggerheads are considered at risk for extinction and are protected by the Endangered Species Act. Witnesses saw Juanita removing the stakes placed by authorities around the turtle nest. She removed the stakes, threw sand on top of the nest, and covered it with one of her rusty chairs.
At 75 she has been convicted of this third degree felony that carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Wouldn’t you hate that to be the ending of your life chapters? She will probably get off with fines and community service, but I am sad for the turtle and her. This is how she will be remembered.
She had a wonderful house on the Gulf, which to many of us would be a completion of our lifelong dream. Yet, she didn’t want to share it with man or loggerheads. She clutched the beauty so tightly that she destroyed it as well as herself. The greed ate her. Ironically, it is God’s creations she was trying to possess. Juanita is a constant reminder to me , not to clutch my blessings so tightly that I lose them. They are given to me to be shared.
While hiking yesterday, I passed a pair of loggerheads returning to the sea from the mangrove forest. I talked to them and told them how cute they were. They went on their way as did I. I appreciated their slow and steady movements and their decorative shell. Why would anyone want to harm them?
I shall seal into my envelope this memory of Juanita’s greed and how it destroyed her life as well as the loggerhead’s future. She allowed that demon to lure her into a life of darkness. Please Lord, let me always remember to share my blessings.