It’s a perfect day to be next to the water – so long as you perch your bum on a sandy log instead of on a cold metal bench. Cloudy, but calm. No rain today. The temperature is bordering on sweatshirt weather, but a soft breeze might make you wish for a jacket. Despite the calm weather, my toes still know that it’s now officially winter, as they grow cold inside my gray Chucks that magically have gathered sand inside of them.
Collectors of all sorts are about, fingering and digging through the salty debris left behind by the tide. Some are picking up shells, particular shapes and sizes for different projects. Others are sifting through rocks, plants and jellyfish parts to find metal treasures. Their spirits are infectious. I walk around scuba divers preparing to explore the underwater park nearby. I prepare to get my hands into the cold sand as my eyes start roving for finds.
A rough bundle of waves roll rapid-fire onto the shore, disrupting the calming lull. Soon, the waves return to the pace of a breath, and its safe to go closer to the water to hunt. I find I have an affinity for putting things in my pockets. Today I’ve emptied out my small purse and intend to pretend I’m Tinkerbell, putting Lost Things into my fairy pouch. A bit of imagination doesn’t hurt on a cloudy day. Sometimes I pocket things almost unconsciously, arriving home with rocks, bark, shells and acorns with little recollection of how they got there.
I came to the beach just to enjoy the smells, but like a shopper hungry for a good sale, my eyes rake the piles of ocean plant life. Baby crabs, pieces of plastic, tangled brown plant ropes, and odd pieces of red that look like enlarged sheets of plastic Velcro stretch across this small section of beach, hiding surprises of all kinds. I think it keeps the child in us alive to hunt like this for shells – for things of little value to most.
Everyone has their own reasons for hunting. Sometimes i think I might be brave enough to ask these people one day what motivates the to hunt, or to do any of the things they do. All these people are so fascinating, with so much to share even if they feel their lives are dull and uneventful.