My mother was a seashell collector, the Beachcomber. My dad was a rock collector and with each visit to the shore, we brought home pieces of our beach experience. From the sands of Barnegat and Bay Head to Aruba, from the playa Linda to Montauk, Antigua, and Sicilia. We have seashells and rocks from every location traveled.
This scavenger hunt wasn’t limited to my parents’ journies but also included family and friends trips, as they traveled the world. For them, too, discovering seashells, beach glass and rocks became a vacation ritual. They would bring back conch shells, oyster abalone, and pink and white stones. And as soon as my brother and I began to travel, we too contributed to the bounty.
In every children’s tale, there’s almost always a character who lifts a shell to its ear to listen to the sounds of the ocean. The calming repetitive ebb and flow of the sea, rushing up against the shore. As a child, I remember thinking how it was Mother Nature’s way of communicating between the earth and the ocean, and all its wildlife above and beneath.
With every keystroke, I yearn for the sea, and so it surprises me that I can count on one hand how many times I’ve visited it this summer. A mere pittance that doesn’t even make up one 24-hour period. With one month to go, and the summer waning its orbital spin away from us, I find myself traveling west to spend 7-days in the desert, surrounded by mountains and mesas, flat ground and dirt. Nary a swimming hole nearby, the only semblance of water whatever we can fit in the RV tow.