As Lucy and I walked along the beach looking for good shells on Friday, we held hands. We did not rush. We were quiet and patient — two rarities for both of us. We did our task and enjoyed each other's company, considering the rosy color of one shell, why this one had a hole, what a pretty piece of sand dollar. In this moment, I pondered how little true attention I give her. Maybe her volume — both the number of words she says and how loud she says them – is a function of how hard she has to fight for an audience in our noisy, noisy life?

During our quiet walk, we found a few modest beauties, which thrilled Lu, but I hid my disappointment at not finding a whole sand dollar. Just as we headed back, we passed a pretty white-haired woman who was on her own shell hunt. I said, teasing, "Good luck — I think we got all the good ones already!"

The lady smiled, wordless, and held out her hand. In it was a perfect sand dollar. She must have picked it up right behind us. In a moment very much out of our shared character, Lu and I agreed we just needed to keep looking. And so we are.