Monday, February 06, 2012

It's beautiful just the way it is.

The weather page in the USA today has the tip of Florida having thunderstorms on Tuesday, rain on Wednesday, thunderstorms on Thursday, showers and rain on Friday, although it's hard to understand what exactly the difference is and thunderstorms on Saturday. The entire rest of the country seems to be clear of the dreaded green and yellow colors.

Not deterred in the least, Zeus and I ordered up the convertible, put the top down and zoomed off to find coffee.  Sitting outside a little cafe we pursued the morning paper until the skies opened up. We're from Wisconsin, by golly, if it isn't snow or ice we endure. We moved to a table with an umbrella and continued our breakfast. Rain poured down splashing off the back of my chair and soaking the back of my clothes, but hey, we're tough.

Walkers started coming into the cafe, drenched, shirt sticking to their bodies but with smiles of satisfaction. You get wet on your walk you feel like you've been through something.

Of course, we had to put the top up on the car.  We drove around getting a feel for the Island. We saw these, people here have a sense of humor. Our favorite being the last picture.

We came back to the hotel and Zeus got ready to go off to play golf.  He was all happy about the fact that it was cloudy, off and on rain so fewer golfers on the course.
It's not 1:30pm and the sun is shinning, skies are beautiful and life is good on the beach. I don't know how it's going on the golf course.

I walked the beach. I decided to take pictures of things that caught my attention. First and foremost are the shell pickers. I passed men and women with coffee cups full of shells and plastic bags dangling from their arms, full of their prized collections. 

I decided to stop and ask people what kinds of shells they were looking for.  I'm guessing here but from the response not a lot of people stop them to ask them about their hobby.
One lady said that today her eye was catching tiny little shells.  She knew the names of them but I can't remember what she called each one.  Another woman bemoaned the fact that her bag had a hole in the bottom and so all the beautiful shells had been dropping out as she put them in.  Her companion sadly said they had to walk the beach again to see if they could find the ones that dropped out.

Now, as you can see from this picture how silly the quest was going to be.

I found myself looking at the shells next to me, on the sand, as I walked along the water edge. Then I glanced up and noticed the thousands of them in the sand, right above me.
How silly.  I could just sit down and spend the day shifting through that lot if I was really devoted to the cause.

But, I continued to stop and ask people about their shell collecting. Every single one of them beamed when I asked them questions.  They described the time of day that they usually like to come, what and why they looked for certain kinds each time and when I asked them what they did with them everybody had a creative answer.

One lady told me she keeps old glass fish bowls on her buffet, at home, filled with sand and her shell collections.  Another told me she likes to glue them to stuff. I didn't get into what kind of stuff, I had a feeling that was going to be a long conversation.

I stopped by a husband and wife totting bags.  The husband assured me that his bag contained their flip flops but the wife, seeing that I was really interested, got all excited and showed me that "TODAY", she said proudly, she decided to find the imperfit, the broken, the unwanted.

I asked her why. She looked me right in the eyes and said, "Nobody has ever asked me that".  Her husband, nudged her, probably thinking I was a reporter or something and said,"Well, honey, she's asking."  

"My mother recently died and when I was looking for shells I realized that we all come into the world, mostly perfect in mostly perfect little shells but that life wears away at the shell. But, what is left is the core, it's strong, it's beautiful and it takes eternity for it to become sand."

I asked her what she was going to do with them.  "I don't know", she replied.
I asked her if she did any art did she draw?  "Maybe I could start", she replied.
I suggested to her that she use her digital camera and take some pictures of each individual shell and the play with the print in a photo editing program.  Her husband was nodding saying, "That's a great idea."
I suggested that one or the other of them could do that and the other one could draw the negative space around the shell.
I suggested that maybe she could journal her thoughts as she concentrated on each shell that she had some beautiful poetry inside of her that was just waiting to come out.

They didn't have to share with me. They didn't even have to listen to me, but they did.
They got excited about their hobby.  He saw value in what she was doing.  They weren't just broken shells anymore they represented something important to her.  He got excited about using his digital camera for more than just taking pictures of where they were.

I got to see their eyes sparkle.  I like that.

During our ride around Marco Island we stopped at a red light and I asked Zeus, you know the one with the Master's in English, how he would pronounce a word on a sign nearby, KRIGER.  He tried to fob off an answer like words have changed over the years and I said, "Hey, what's the rule about short vowels or long vowels?"
Without missing a beat he said, "PrOOOOOOObly, pronounced KrIIIIIIIIIger.

I suspect you had to be there, to hear the long O and long I.  I also suspect that I prOOOOOOOObly won't be able to say prOOOOOOOOOOObly right again.  Well, it cracked me up but then remember I am easily entertained, she said as she stuck her pinwheel back out the window. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

lololsnort I need to go sit in the sun, I do.

:)Bea who gets very silly on vacation.


  1. Bea what an enormous heart revelation... the imperfect shells collected as a metaphor ...we are all imperfect and yet the core of our souls is beautiful. I like what you replied ...using the digital images as a way of documenting the ritual. Blessings, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  2. what a lovely story about the shells! have a terrific vacation and enjoy the sunshine!

  3. what a lovely story about the shells...have a terrific vacation!

  4. Great inspiration! You see the best in everything and oh my, that pinwheel, you gooooooo smart little girl piggie! hee hee.