Yesterday was a day of tasks, desk bound routine, website tending, emails, online searching. With the passing of noon the telephone rang, the caller reporting the arrival of a computer part I had ordered a few days prior. It was an invitation, an excuse really, to venture out for a time, to break away from the monotony of routine.
It had been a productive morning, though at this time of year when the sun bears its warmth and great spirit upon this earth, especially at this time of year, I yield reason to chance and head for the great outdoors. Perhaps a quantum indulgence but alas, I find these excursions a nutrient mental fortification only to inspire greater energies, creativity and renewed dedication to those tasks that still await conclusion back at the desk before day falls away to night.
The journey to the courier depot was brief, the counter visit quickly dispensed and I was back on the road to our little haven just outside of the bustle of the larger centers. My thoughts throughout the entire trip back, as always, were clearly focused on the waterfront, a long stretch of sandy beachhead greatly expanded by the retreat of the sea’s tide awaited. As I maneuvered the winding roadway into the park and neared the water I was excited to see the tide at its furthest point of retreat to a distance I had not seen nor timed my visit sufficiently for in quite some time.
At low tide one can walk a half mile out and several miles’ length along a sandy landscape rich with the many remnant treasures of the sea. Oysters, mussel, clams, seashells and kelp are amoung the many amazing deposits in the midst of millions of tiny sink holes where sand crabs have burrowed, invisible to predators in the lightness of day. They can often be found out in their hiding beneath flat stones and driftwood though they scurry for cover as quickly as they are revealed.
The gulls have plucked and fed from the nourish of the sea’s bounty which lay fully visible and exposed on the rippled wash of sandy ocean bed, fully at the unmerciful perils of nature’s scavengers. My mind races in the excitement of my exploration and discovery. In the scatter of shells, sand, pebbles and other remnant deposits nature’s own camouflage paints an immense tapestry, pieces of a great puzzle with highly convoluted intricacies causing challenge to the hunt. I have a fish aquarium at home and my quest for a newfound sea shell to adorn its gravel base only serve to the enhancement of our fishes’ contoured environment is impassioned, focused.
My persistence prevailed as I inched forward, scanning as a sonar to reveal that sought out treasure. Sure enough my efforts yielded a large snail shell over three inches in height, its spiral exterior contour and polished inner surface a rare find, especially of this size. The shell’s inhabitant undoubtedly foraged by gulls in recent hours left the inanimate jewel silent and exposed. In its newfound home our fish hover idly by, bemused curiosity.
The opine of sky’s infinite blue
Bathe a vast and never ending sea
Gently retreating as hours pass
Bequeathed in its wake sands of treasure
Gulls pecking in resolute forage
Their feast a binge of nature’s calling
Footprints etched on a seabed tender
Their paths without certain, wandering
Tide pools bridle sea’s intimation
Of planktonic floaters and swimmers
The warmth of shallows and temperate breeze
Pebbles on sand where crab will scurry
Thistle and tallgrass bent to the winds
A heron is prone in its standing
Nigh a snail shell bared its camouflage
My saltwater treasure in waiting
© Don MacIver 2013; All Rights Reserved