Friday, April 03, 2009

what i have just learned


why is it
so many
to collect
shells and rocks
at beaches?
is it that
we want
to take
a little bit
of the ocean
home with us?
where does
the idea
of souvenir
come from?
to remember.
as it means
in french-
to remember.

searanch: collection

i grew up
by the ocean
unlike my sister
who filled
egg cartons
with shells
she collected
on the beach,
i preferred
to play
in the surf
and get
ice cream cones
the snack shack.
i do remember
loving to look
at her
of shells
in egg cartons
where little
were not suppose
to pry.
{but i did
of course}.

searanch: collection

years later,
i make collections
to carry home
from the sea.
to arrange
and look at
months later.
she knew
that i only
have just

searanch: last-day

you a lovely


emily said...

i have thought about this. a lot. because i am a compulsive rock and shell collector. especially at - though not limited to - the beach. and i think - in addition to the notion of wanting to remember - that there is an element of wanting to possess. not only to possess the ocean, or a tiny bit of the ocean, but also to possess a bit of the spirit of being at the ocean. and somehow, bringing those bits home seems as good a way as any.

Anonymous said...

God, you remember more about this than I did, Gwen! I had forgotten all about the egg cartons--I just remembered a couple of boxes of exotic shells our father made, I guess they were leftovers from his vast mineral collection. Don't recall many of the actual shells, except for a pair of "strawberry tops" that made their way onto my shell picture--now whatever became of that? Remember it was all arranged around a seahorse that Ella brought back from her honeymoon? More than 30 years ago...sigh. Decades later I switched to collecting sea glass--the collection process was the same, working my way down the beach from low tide line to high. Very meditative, you tend to empty your mind of everything but awareness of the patch of sand or rocks and of course there is the rhythm of the sea.
I guess there's your answer: shell collecting is yoga for people who don't do yoga. Just look at those patterns you made on the tabletop--it's like a mandala, or whatever you call those things.

f. pea said...

weeding the garden the other day, we found a sea urchin shell from a long-ago trip to the beach. it was delightful to rediscover it there.

lisa solomon said...

i love how you line up all the white stripes

Esti said...

I love this post. I relate. I love beach rocks. And I see you can make a white line by putting them along so neatly... a line knotting memories perhaps...