The Crab People come out twice a day.

Long ago I nicknamed them – the mass of humans that appears along the shore to watch the sun rise and set each day. Over the course of a half-hour they slowly arrive, making their way out of their holes (condos, cars, and homes) and onto or near the sand.

There they stand, separate but together, awaiting the awe inspiring moment of the sun touching the horizon. Whether the sun is coming or going, these people remain silently memorized as they watch it move. Sometimes it breaks through clouds, sometimes it sizzles in the water. Every time is unique and pause-worthy.

Don’t get me wrong – I love the Crab People. I love that they are willing to make the effort to be there to see the oranges, purples, and pinks… a scene that no camera can truly capture, and no artist can quite paint. (As a lover of art I will admit that we humans can get close – but we just can’t duplicate God’s work!) I love that these people take the time and opportunity to find a great vantage point, look up in patience and anticipation, fill their eyes and souls with light, and then contentedly make their way back out of sight. They disappear into the holes they came from, only to return for the next great display.

I’ve seen this scene for many years from many places. All over Florida this plays out morning and evening. East coast, west coast, and (especially) in the Keys. In Daytona the Crab People stand with the beach walkers and joggers who stop to see the sunrise peak out above the waves. In Clearwater the afternoon tiki bar goers stick to their stools while craning their necks to check out the dusk view. In Key West a sunset celebration is held in Mallory Square every night, complete with art vendors, daredevils, and musicians.

The sun display sometimes gets rained out of view but even then it never gets old. While the sky changes on a clear day from yellows and whites to pinks and blues, on a cloudy day the sky changes from light and dark grays to royal purples and black. And with all of this the water changes too. The sky plays upon the water: the reflection of the sun, the silver dancing sparkles on the waves, the aqua greens and turquoise blues and deep charcoal grays of rolling water. The ocean is the sky’s canvas, a beveled liquid mirror with its own output of personality.

I stand with the Crab People, I think their thoughts, the same thoughts of people over the centuries. I imagine the sailor’s gaze rolling up and down toward the horizon without land obstructing sight. I ponder life and death, youth and maturity, the great universe beyond. I give thanks to the Creator of all of it, because this masterpiece comes from a power much bigger and more majestic than me. I smile and laugh at the dogs and children that play mindlessly in the sand, and I feel my heart rejoicing in the blissfulness of the moment.

The sun kisses the sea. The magic has happened and a mass exodus is about to begin. Before that, in places like Mallory Square, the cheer and applause of the Crab People fills the sky.