Many decades ago, when I was but a youth of 12 or 13, my wise old grandmother took me to Padre Island National Seashore in South Texas, about 15 miles due east from my hometown of Kingsville, 60 miles if driving on paved roads.
Padre Island was where I first saw a Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle. Back then there were hundreds, maybe thousands of them, at certain times of the year.
As I was playing in the sand and surf, I found a mound of flowers. I picked a few to give them to my wise old grandmother.
She took them, said “Thank you!” and then admonished me for picking flowers at the national seashore. Loosely quoted, she said, “No one else will get to enjoy these beautiful flowers because they have been picked and will soon die. It is best to admire them where they grow and leave them for others to also enjoy.”
On the drive home, which was about 45 miles, the flowers sat between us on the bench seat (smile if you remember when cars had bench seats and you could slide over to be next to your loved one or, perhaps, keep some flowers between the two of you).
I felt so bad about picking the flowers and started talking about how sorry I was for taking them and preventing other people from enjoying them. That’s when my wise old grandmother told me something that I have never forgotten: “When you go to a national park, leave only footprints.”
Well, to honor the memory of my wise old grandmother, following are a dozen pictures of footprints from the beaches of San Diego.
Can you identify the footprints, like we did in Scouts?
One picture is of my footprints; which one?
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