I love walking on my beach; I look for sea glass and pottery shards that the tides have washed in to shore or unearthed from the sand. I take my time, enjoying the sun and the wind and the cries of gulls overhead, and often I stop and sit on a large rock for a few minutes, staring out at the water and breathing in the aromatic salt air.
It’s peaceful on my beach, never crowded nor so noisy that I can’t hear myself think, and that is certainly one the attributes of beach combing that appeals to me.
Even when I walk on the beach with family or friends there is a certain solitude about this past time–when conversations take place they are fluid and relaxed, beginning and ending softly and leaving lots of quiet space between them. Walkers often break off to explore sand bars or small tidal pools by themselves, regrouping when it feels right to do so and perhaps beginning another conversation that drifts in and out like the tide.
Searching for glass and pottery gives me an excuse to explore the beach and forces me to walk slowly enough to actually spy a piece of glass or ceramic poking out of the sand or hiding in a rock and seaweed garden. I zig and I zag along the shoreline, weaving my way from the water’s edge to the shoreline’s rocks, always watching, watching, watching for a glint of glass to catch my attention.
Often I find very little on my beach walks; a couple of pieces of glass and maybe a small shard of flowered pottery, but sometimes I find more–white and green and brown glass and pottery pieces that are large enough to imagine what they used to be when they were whole.
And sometimes I find…sand apples. Yes, I said sand apples.
I have no idea where these little apples come from–washed in from the sea or unearthed by the waves hitting the shore or more likely, dropped by a cottage child playing a game of fetch with a dog that apparently doesn’t care for sand apples. I’m guessing at this, of course, as I never actually saw the apples appear on the sand–they were just there–for all I know there may be a sand fairy that travels the world at night leaving tiny green apples on the beach for wanderers such as me to stumble across and wonder about.
At the end of my walk I head back to my cottage to rinse the sand off my treasures, count them and add them to my small-but-growing collections. Then I check the tide schedule and make a mental note to walk the beach again the next day at low tide.
Summer is winding down now for another year in my neck of the woods and I’m not at the cottage as much in September as I am in July and August, but when I am there, when a few sunny days grace our fall, I will be on my beach again, walking and thinking and searching for more booty.
What have you found on your beach combing treks? Have you ever found sand apples? Do you collect glass and pottery and shells and small pieces of driftwood? What do you do with your collection? I’d love to know, so please leave a comment and share your story with the rest of us would-be treasure seekers.
Thanks for reading, and remember–don’t be a stranger.