This Thanksgiving broke beautifully clear with swirling breezes, ample sunshine, smells of the salt marsh, and the patter of much-adored toesies.
So of course we adorned ourselves with swimsuits, baby carriers, snacks, sacks for shells, and the all-important shovels. P.S. How do you know when you’re a grown-up? You no longer have a plastic shovel at the ready. That would be me.
But we’ve got the sacks and we’ve got ample cooperation from the sea, stretching out into the lowest low tide I’ve ever seen here. It’s a bit daunting — the possibility that the sea can just turn her back and walk away when she and the moon get a hankering, but we roll with it and begin the journey to the breakers by crossing a medley of tide pools alternating with sandbars. It’s quite amazing, actually.
My first treasure was a perfect hermit crab shell, and I was surprised to see it happily occupied, just as I was with the next twenty or so we spied and examined. Back they went into the sea.
I’ve collected shells over more years than I care to admit, and the change in my focus over time charms me. I might pick up a perfect shell here and there, but it doesn’t hold much interest. I lunge for those that have spent a lifetime tumbling through capricious tides, pockmarked and holy, or conchs that have given up their fancy fairy tale covering and continue to ride the waves naked, exposing that spiral twist of backbone that stays strong. Like me. Like you.