When the water is warm, my husband and I sometimes walk very slowly at the water’s edge and watch the rays or skate. We’ve learned to recognize their triangular shape in the sand, sometimes just inches from shore but difficult at first to discern. When we approach, the rays quickly shy away, moving their wings through the water like birds flying in a reflection on a pond. How graceful they are! Sometimes there will be a very small ray beside its mother, each pulsing through the waves, almost effortlessly. They are both foreign and familiar, as if something that belonged in the air has chosen instead to inhabit the sea. I thank you, Lord, for creatures whose existence can produce such pleasure. Not just the obvious ones like pelicans and dolphins, but for these shy and gentle rays who come so close to touching humans but who are frightened of us. Help us to be open to their beauty and grace so that their beauty can continue to startle and delight us. What an incredible world you have created! Amen.