Saturday, January 26, 2019

Dollars and Shells

The red tide is still a lurking presence; I haven't felt it in the air but there was one dead fish on the beach this morning. It was a windswept day and the sky was particularly lovely.

Not to mention the Gulf of Mexico,

especially as there was no one else on the beach save a lone walker and a lone fisherman, a bandanna over his face against the north wind. (They need a bit more than a bandanna up in western New York right now, where "life-threatening' conditions are predicted. I'll never complain about red tide again, though it has, according to the man at the local cable company, led to some nervous and half-asphyxiated people selling their beach view condos. Might be a chance to pick up a cheap one!)
  But the wind served a useful purpose, chucking up a great crop of shells.

I can't resist collecting shells but what does one do with them? There's just so many jars you can fill and I can't stand the kitschy things people make out of them, the picture frames and necklaces and model lighthouses. Someone in our neighbourhood has a mailbox made entirely out of shells. Often I scatter them on the flower beds, just for fun.
  But today I found my very first sand dollar.

All the years I've been walking along Golden Beach and I've never found a sand dollar before. I almost thought it was a fake, studying the almost too perfect pattern of petals that look like an etched flower - you can just about see it on the photo below.

 But it was real all right. The remains of a sort of flat sea urchin.  In its bare and bleached state, the  sand dollar, I discovered, takes on some extraordinary symbolism. Among other things it's said to represent the Star of Bethlehem, the holes the Five Wounds of Christ and the flower an Easter Lily. As hubby would say, how about that!
Now I need to think what to do with it. The flower bed is probably not a suitable place.

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