Sharks’ Teeth and the Sands of Time

The highlight of any middle-aged, inland, family-man like myself’s year is the annual trip to the beach.  This year was particularly momentous in that the family was able to visit 3 coastal areas in one pass: the Chesapeake, the Outer Banks, and Topsail Island.

While at Topsail Island, my wife got down low in the sand and started noticing many sharks’ teeth.  For the next 20 minutes the entire family was on the hunt for sharks teeth and found 20-30 in as many minutes by simply getting down low ourselves and looking for them.

Sharks Tooth Hand

This struck me on several levels:

1. How many small, obvious things like this do we miss in our own lives every day?
2. What if we had a similar reminder of our own fleeting mortality – such as human teeth washing ashore by the millions – would we take a larger view of our own affairs? 

I then got up from my crouched position and looked at all of the newly built beach houses around me.  Now, I was on Topsail Island 6 months after Hurrican Fran (11/96) in the spring of 1997 and the place was a disaster area – completely covered in sand and not a beach house to be seen except where particularly industrious owners had uncovered a few partial remnants. 

Perhaps these new beach dwellers could look atre the fossils in my hand and be just a little mindful of the relentless onslaught of the sea and the sands of time – for at least 10 years anyway. 


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