So after a storm is a great opportunity for shell seekers. You find beautiful, unusual shells that the ocean keeps locked away in her murky depths. Churned up by chaotic turbulent winds and raucous storms the waves hurtle toward the shore, gently placing their offerings with each tide.

Lily and Lulu and I meandered up the beach the other morning enjoying the gentle breeze and the still-warm water lapping over my feet. Just ahead I spotted three large forms on the dawn-brightening sand and savored what they might be as I walked toward them. Like a shot, a woman in tight black leggings, running shoes, sweatshirt and her blond ponytail pulled neatly through the band behind her cap raced by to my right and quickly scooped up what I had mentally claimed as mine, now hers.

“Jackpot!” she shouted, gleefully.

Somehow this completely diminished the beauty of these shells. I also noticed another, much larger one not 20 feet ahead and sadly watched as the woman ran to grab that one, too.

It wasn’t so much that I missed out on some lovely shells, the ocean isn’t likely to run out anytime soon. What saddened me was the apparent department store final clearance attitude of my fellow beach walker as she vacuumed the beach of its bounty. Shells and all things from the sea are mysterious. They may be explained by scientists– how they come to be, the composite structure of each different shell, but look at the beauty of even the most common shell. There are ridges, colorings, imperfections, a place where a hinge might once have existed, a housing for an animal whose life secrets number greatly against what people claim to know absolutely about it.

So no, I was not disappointed that I missed out on an addition to my growing collection


I was saddened by how ordinary she made them seem. Just another thing to have, rather than a beautiful gift to be cherished. Of course there are other gifts, a brilliant sunrisePicture1015160717_1.jpg

or the little brittle star tossed casually on top of a pile of shells (not my photo)


But I suppose there is nothing quite so comforting as a pile of toys during a terrible storm


Lulu probably had the right idea.