Peter ambled alone down the silvery beach stretching for miles. The waves washed over the sand near his bare feet. Twenty yards ahead of him a pair of oystercatchers waded in the water and poked their straight, red beaks into the wet sand, looking for mollusks.
It was his and Sonia's tenth holiday at this beach. It was one of the best beaches on the South Coast. All along the coast were many exceptional beaches and natural wonders. Nearby was a forest that bordered on a beach where kangaroos came out to feed on the open grass in the afternoon and where one could hand feed rosellas that came to perch on one's arms.
He and Sonia had lived a full life in service to the community. But lately they had tired. They refused to consider themselves as old, but, as Peter would quip, 'young age pensioner' never appears on the list of age groups in surveys. Nonetheless, they had begun to doubt their effectiveness at this time of life. They could not avoid thinking that the best was behind them.
Peter noticed a small piece of driftwood brought in by the last wave that broke ahead of him. He picked it up as he reached it. It was straight, smooth, about four inches long, was bleached to a whitish grey, but otherwise was unremarkable.
"Not exactly the material for those coincidental sculptures that people find in driftwood", Peter thought. "No flying eagle, or old man with a hat, or anything imaginative like that", he thought with a smile.
" I can't think of a single thing that this useless piece of wood could be used for. It is uniquely, wonderfully, perfectly useless! But I really like it. It will make a great conversation piece," he said, audibly enough to startle the manshy oystercatchers who flew off.
He put the stick in his pocket, and quickened his pace back home.
On his return he walked straight to the coffee table that stood in front of the fireplace. He plonked the stick on the table on top of his Bible he had left there that morning.
He called out to Sonia: " I found a very uninteresting stick on the beach".
Sonia only answered, " Just don't bring any sand into the house!".
The following morning Sonia's high-pitched excited voice woke him up:
"Quick dear, you won't believe it. It's crazy! Get up and have a look!".
Peter immediately got out of bed and walked into the lounge.
What he saw was something that he found extremely hard to believe. He threw a suspicious glance at Sonia and approached the coffee table.
Atop his Bible where he left it, the small piece of old, dry driftwood had sprouted a beautiful white blossom. He picked it up to check that the flower was attached and had grown out of the wood. It certainly appeared to have sprouted out of the dead wood.
"What do you make of that Sonia?"
" I really don't know. I guess it's a miracle", Sonia replied. "An antipodean beach miracle", she added, with a giggle, guessing how newspapers outside of Australia might describe it.
Not knowing what to do with it yet, they just left the stick and its flower on the table.
That evening, as they were sitting together at dinner, Sonia was unusually quiet.
She looked at Peter for a while and then broke her meditative silence.
"You know that nursing home that our church runs? They need volunteers. Especially for their bus outings. I thought I would be too tired, but I think I should offer to help. I would enjoy it. There will be good opportunities to share some of the things that God has done in my life".
"Sounds good. Maybe I'll join you", said Peter. "Let's tell Pastor Tom, I am sure it will make his day".
Then Peter looked at her admiringly, almost wickedly.
"By the way, Do you feel like going out to dance tonight? The local club here has a band doing sixties cover versions. It might loosen up the arthritic joints that you insist you don't have".
"I'll dance you off the floor, Peter!" She could not suppress the surge in her of anticipated youthful fun. She quickly gulped down her tea and went off to change her clothes and make her face.
"Mmm. That's not like her, normally", thought Peter.
He looked over to the stick on the table. "It's a bloomin' miracle!" he exclaimed.
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