The Pit and the Passion

She held her gaze steady, mainly so she could delve deep, deep into those chocolate eyes. Together with his sharp, angular nose and intense, almost predatory, expression, he reminded her of a peregrine falcon on the hunt.

The Pit & the Passion

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More Habits of the Shell Seeker

In my earlier post I discussed some of the rules by which shell seekers must abide (it’s from some kind of Higher Authority, nameless in most cultures).

The most important rule is: You Must Not Put It Back. If you’ve found a perfect shell—an olive or murex, say, its shiny coat and all its edges intact—you have to keep it.  Exceptions: (1) You may return with impunity any shell that deceived you by only exposing its whole side; (2) If you have found three or more of a perfect item, you may offer them to other walkers.  Be advised: no proper shell seeker will accept it from you, but you might find a tourist or child as yet unschooled in the Rule.

However you try to take advantage of loopholes, most of your treasures will remain in your possession at least as far as the beach house. The problem facing you at that point is what to do with them. I have conducted an informal survey of beachgoers and found some intriguing and inventive solutions.

One young woman (single, so she has time) turned all her sand dollars into Santa Claus ornaments.  With a careless wave she described how simple it was—all you need is a glue gun and all kinds of little baubles (you know, the stuff in that junk drawer)…oh, and some semblance of artistic ability.

My great aunt glued shells to construction paper and put them in tiny frames. They’re still in my guest room. They’re all white now—even the construction paper.

The most charming solution came from a lovely Iowa couple.  They carry their loot home at the end of the season and make a small “beach” by their pool in Ames. Then they invite the neighborhood children to stop by and search for shells. Considering that many of the little guys may never see a real beach, it’s a marvelously exciting adventure for them. And the couple, without violating the Rule, have divested themselves of the treasure. Unfortunately, now they have to come each year to replenish their “beach.” The work never ends…


Mary Drury said...

I was hoping that you would pursue your original premise: is shell collecting a hobby or an addiction? Personally, I believe it is an addiction as once on a beach a shell collector CAN NOT walk by any worthwhile looking shell without at least investigating it.

So, my name is Mary and I am a shell collecting addict. I have shells from every beach that I have ever been on. I have shells from many states and several countries. I have made shell-filled lamps for everyone in my family and all of my friends. I have jars filled with shells, I have shadow box frames with shells mounted in them, I have bowls of shells displayed and I now leave my shells in the house where I am staying when I find them (except for any spectacular find) thus leaving my shell spoor behind.

M. S. Spencer said...

Too funny! I believe I have some of your spoor here at the house...Confession: I actually returned some shells to their nests yesterday. Broke my heart.