Inspired by Sand Dollars…
“MORE sand dollars?” My husband’s tone asked its own question (“Have you lost your mind?”).
“Why do you need to bring so many?” My older daughter squiggled her eyebrows.
“I don’t know. I just do.”
“Can I give some to Anne?” Anne was her best friend.
“Um…” I didn’t want to part with a single one. “Yeah, I’ll pick out a few for her.” I chose five of the most mundane, set them aside, and continued to swaddle the remaining delicate wafers in layers of tissue before tucking them into various containers.
I’m not sure how many minutes, or even hours, I spent packing my collection, knowing their fragility would be a poor match for the thousand mile truck ride from Maine to North Carolina. In the last few weeks before our move, my sand dollar-hunting gained urgency. If I spied one, I couldn’t leave it on the sand. After every walk my jacket pockets were damp and sagging with loot. Once home, I laid them on towels. Only after they were dry could I rid them of the sand trapped inside by tapping them ever so gently. Did you know sand dollars have a mouth, and a um, “butt”?
My obsession was rooted in panic over leaving Maine, and the beach.
Understanding the source of an obsession doesn’t loosen its grip.
I opened the boxes and containers a couple of days ago. As you can see, not all of their contents survived the trip.
My sadness was fleeting because when I lifted the lids, ocean scent rushed out to kiss me.
Do you collect anything from Nature that has special meaning for you?
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I’m trying to think … no. Sadly, no. We move so bloody much that I have given up the habit of collecting anything. One reason i can’t wait to S E T T L E. To have a room of my own, to collect, to hold close, to keep and not worry. Maybe that is a sort of collection – the collection of worries, memories and laughs from every place we’ve ever lived.
That is a collection I suppose, but I like things I can hold in my hand as well as in my mind and heart. Hope you have that room of your own soon 🙂
What is a sand dollar? Some sort of seashell?
They’re a type of burrowing, extremely flattened sea urchin. When they’re alive they’re covered with velvet (a coat of tiny spines).
I love sand dollars! And, yes, I understand wanting to hold onto things all too well. We donated a good bit of my mom’s clothes, but I have the remainder in my hallway. They’re about 3 sizes too large for me, but I’m still trying to figure out what to do with them…
Hmm, are you a talented seamstress? If you don’t see yourself actually wearing the clothes maybe you could make a Victorian style crazy quilt or pillow cover?
I was also confused as to sand dollar meaning; maybe we don’t have them in Australia!
The smell of the ocean; now that I can relate to, however! I don’t collect anything from the great outdoors, but I do love it: the smell of plants, the oceans, grass, rain… fabulous! If you could collect smells, I definitely would 🙂
I’m thinking you must not have them Down Under – I figured they were universal, just differently shaped maybe. A smell collection would be FABULOUS! Scent plays a big role in my first book 🙂
Um… I may or may not have a desk full of dozens of things I’ve collected on my shore walks. Could be I have jars and jars of beach-glass, crinoid fossils, and heart-shaped rocks. And perhaps I get a bit obsessive about them, and somehow feel they ensure certain kinds of writing success on the day they’re found. But probably not. After all, I’m not at all superstitious. (I sense another blog idea to blatantly steal here, Rhiann. Thanks!)
What do you know? I have a sea glass collection too and sea glass has appeared in my books more than once 😉 As for your blog plans, “stealing is the sincerest form of flattery” I always say…
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“Understanding the source of an obsession doesn’t loosen its grip.”
Dear God. That is SO. True.
Struck a nerve, did I?
😦 This post made me sad… I don’t collect anything from nature (if I lived near the beach I might!) – just old typewriters. My girls, however, are forever bringing home stones, sticks, feathers, pinecones, and acorns!
I love acorns too, but it always makes ME sad when their little berets fall off… Old typewriters are certainly fun. For a while I collected Victorian glove boxes and perfume bottles, they always seemed less “mine” than things I collect from Nature – instead they belonged to others first.
I can see that. I feel each typewriter has come to me. I haven’t sought one out yet! Somehow, *they* find me…