Monday, February 11, 2013

The Purpose-Driven Holiday

Welcome to this little old web site where no facts are checked and no upholstery is stained! My name is Anne, with a capital "A."

I grew up in the mountains. I loved the mountains. I will always love the mountains. , Heck, pick a verb tense, and I will love the mountains in that, too.

When I lived in the mountains, I went hiking all the time. There was never much purpose to the hiking. I'd look at the view, or climb through the wreckage of old log homes that had fallen down, or take a dip in the crick. But it was sort of a rambling, ambling kind of thing -- mostly. Oh yeah, when I was young and stupid I did some ridiculous rock-climbing. But generally speaking, I didn't head out for a day in the mountains with the idea of coming home with stuff.

Now I'm trying to bond with the beach, and let me just say that the seashore is very different from the mountains. Maybe you have noticed.

First of all, a hike along the surf line ... well, maybe it works for some people, but I can't stick it at any price. It all looks the same to me! Not that it isn't pretty, but for the love of fruit flies, you can walk five miles, and basically it's waves breaking on the sand, seagulls, and maybe a few little wading birds. The cute kind.

So I find myself going to the beach with the purpose of collecting sea glass. Seems like I have to do something at the beach ... either swim or beach-comb. And the only thing at the beach that compels me to lean over and pick it up is sea glass. Shells don't do it for me. I've got rocks from the mountains that have shell imprints in them, and those puppies are millions of years old. Last week's clam is a yawner. Every little pebble at the beach is beautiful. How could anyone ever collect the best ones? So I go for the glass.

Sunday was a beautiful day with a low tide, after a Nor'Easter. These are good conditions for collecting sea glass. So I went, got to the shore at super low tide, and was therefore able to comb some areas that have been inaccessible since Sandy. At least inaccessible to me. The hard core glass-hoarders, you couldn't keep them off those beaches with artillery.

Long story short, I was looking for larger chunks of sea glass, figuring that angry King Triton had flung some up in the storm. And darned if I didn't find a chunk that has a capital "A" on it!

So here's how the beach works for me. I scour the sand for glass, then I gaze out at the water and think, "Ah, that's pretty!" Then I repeat that for a few hours, about as long as I would have hiked back in the day. I say hello to whoever is around, pet whatever dogs are running about, and watch the shore birds. (This time I saw a flock of brant. I don't think I've ever seen brant before. I had to look them up in the bird encyclopedia.)

I always get the nagging feeling that, if I'd grown up along the shoreline, I'd need no purpose for my ramblings there. But I'll never know about that.

I came home with a bag of sea glass. I rinsed it off and put it in jars. And there it sits.

Except for the piece with my initial on it. I took that to work. I put it on my desk. I made a vow that I would keep it on the desk until the day I'm able to walk out of there for good. And then I will fling that piece of sea glass back to King Triton.

It's likely to be a long time before that happens. Hope my flinging arm still has some pep when that day comes.

In the meantime, here I sit with two jars of sea glass, small pieces and medium pieces. What happens when the jars are filled? Do I stop going to the beach?

Does anyone out there want an envelope of sea glass? Email me, luvbuzzards at yahoo dot com. Send me your address. Give me a purpose-driven holiday.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

It's so cool to have found a big piece with your initial on it! Like a message from the sea or something.

Not on topic but . . . did you see the news report about some hockey game in California recently where a condor buzzard got into the rink and was flying around? The players were scared, those poor shrinking violets. The video clip is probably online somewhere. But if all else fails, you know a sportswriter. He could probably locate it online or in print. I'm thinking it would be a good addition to your virtual vulture festival.

Kristen said...

I grew up spending summers by the ocean, and seaglass hunting is pretty much a compulsion for me as soon as I step onto a beach :) It feels meditative. What to do when the two jars are filled? I like to use seaglass in candle holders. E.g. you get a clear glass bowl (or a low, wide vase), put some seaglass in, and then settle a small glass votive or tea light holder in among the seaglass. That way the glass picks up the candlelight. Of course, gifting the seaglass is a good solution too!

Elizabeth said...

I grew up spending summers on the Michigan side of Lake Michigan. My mother gets up every morning when she's there and walks, collecting lake glass as she goes. We have tubs and tubs of it, sorted by color. Sometimes she glues it onto stuff, making stained glass window type things. Some bits just find themselves on windowsills or in jars by bedside tables.

(P.S. I've been lurking, reading you for years, and I'm terrible at thinking of anything original to say in a comment, but I send a prayer to any listening Bored God for you whenever I see a Turkey Vulure. I too am in exile, down here in North Carolina, I love it, but it is not the soil I grew in.)

Maebius said...

Congrats on finding a grade-A talisman from Triton there, Anne!

As for your comment about "doing something" I find the same is true for me, with water in general. Maybe it's an elemental thing, maybe it's similar "conditioning" in our youth.

With Boy Scouts, and camping, and hiking, woods-walks are their own reward. But find a beach, or heck, even walking/canoeing/camping beside a river, and I suddenly have a manic urge to look for driftwood or some sort of trinket to pocket.

With the beach it's even more pronounced, and I have a lovely Sand collection for when there are no interesting non-shells/rocks to picket. (at least a muscle-shell full from every place I've gone, plus had friends send me samples from around the world, in little glass bottles).

How funny! I never thought of the reasons for it, until reading this, and hearing your thoughts too!

Anonymous said...

One of my treasures is a piece of sea glass I picked up on the beach at Monterey in 1969, the first time I ever walked by the ocean. Rodger C

Anonymous said...

If you everget to northern california there is a beach called Glass Beach. Look it up on Bing.

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