July 27, 2010

and the Seashells

For summer's sake, here are some of the seashell treasures.

Since I was little, finding a seashell on the beach (or a very good rock) has been a source of great joy. We'd come home from the beach when I was really little and the shells in my pocket seemed to outnumber the grains of sand in my tennies. Treasures. For years and years I had the cigar box with the best of the best. I especially love the spirally conch shells.

Then when my eldest was two, we went to visit my dad in Florida. He lived on the gulf coast, midway down the state and near a magical shell beach. Our first night there, Dad took us to hunt for treasure on his beach. It was covered in shells. My little boy learned to scrutinize there with his gramps. I doubt I'll ever forget the scene of the two of them, one in purple houndstooth overalls and one with a cane, heads down, searching.

He taught baby sister some of the ins and outs a few years later when they searched years later, on the beach across the street from Dad's church on Anna Maria Island. We literally walked across the street, flipped our shoes off and searched while Dad finished his coffee and cleaned the church kitchen.

My sister and I walked the Dad's beaches,  collecting with a fervor of nine year olds searching for candy. We got up an hour early more than once just so we could beach comb before the day started.

One cold day in February, a bit of Florida sunshine came in the form of a parcel from Dad, delivered to my Southern California office . It had nothing inside but a big pink scallop shell and a note: "Found it! Love, Dad."

Many of these shells from those days and the days before, spend the winter and spring in ziplock bags where we keep the collection - when it's not strewn throughout the house. Some are shiny and colorful. Some are gray and broken. Some look like fossils, but all are our historic beach treasures, none the less.

So tonight, my daughter and I went out to the garage, to the summer shelf and found the shell bags. Evidence of days at the beach in our past. She placed a few shells and sea stars around the back yard and then we scattered more on the mantle and elsewhere in the living room.

The shells we love have met the rocks from my walk on Capistrano Beach. Oh, and the other random beach rocks and sea glass we hold on to for the sake of recalling oceany days. We're celebrating summer and the beach in the house.

And very, very grateful for our treasures, gifts from the sea.


Shannon said...

i just love this. such stories and memories that these shells hold. i don't live anywhere near an ocean but i have collected rocks all my life. there are many rocks i can still look at and remember when and where i found it. there is wonderful energy in them. thanks for sharing!

The Yellow Door Paperie said...

Beautiful! We were at the lake in MN this last weekend and the kids collected snail and muscle shells for me. SO beautiful. I miss the ocean, so it was some solace. (:


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