Zhadi's Den

Random essays on wine, writing, moving to San Francisco, surfing, cats (exotic and otherwise) and zombies...depending on my mood.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Beach Walks

Picture by John Roberts

One of the things I love about my new home is its proximity to the beach. I've always envied my friends and family who live within walking distance of the Pacific, be it in La Jolla, Venice Beach or Pacific Beach. If I wanted to dabble my toes in the water, I had to get in my car and drive for a half hour... or take a bath.

Well, I no longer have to envy them (at least not for their nearness to salt water - I still envy Maureen her enviable ability to eat four cinnamon rolls for breakfast and stay slender) because now I live four blocks from Ocean Beach off of the Great Highway. Boska and I can be there in a matter of minutes without anything more time-consuming than getting her to stop wiggling long enough to get her in her halter and leash.

We go nearly every day - Boska's advanced years seem to slip away whenever she steps onto the sand and I let go of her leash. Flocks of seagulls scatter in her wake as she charges into the surf. Arthritis in her hips? What arthritis?

I love the fact that she's well-behaved enough that I can wander along the beach and either read or scan the sand for interesting artifacts. Sometimes Boska helps me with the latter. Together we've found a dead seal with shark bites, a sick murre, and the head of a leopard shark. I had to stop her from nibbling on both dead seal and live murre. She wasn't interested in the leopard shark.

At low tide the beach is covered with shells and rocks - a collector's delight. There's a plethora of sand dollars. On days where the ocean is relatively calm, I've found as many as 20 or so intact sand dollars within a hundred feet of each other. After rougher surf, there are dozens upon dozens of sand dollar halves and smaller fragments.

There are also hundreds of smoothly polished rocks in varying shades and sizes. I have a jar full of nothing but green ones, ranging from a pale jade to dark forest green. There are red ones, Martian red, some the color of blood oranges, others fire engine red. Some of the rocks look like pieces of chocolate, a dark velvety brown. I love the ones with stripes around the center - there are dozens of perfectly round or oval rocks in black, red or white that have a solid stripe of a contrasting color around the center. And don't forget the beach glass. Bottle green, brown and white, edges worn smooth by who knows how long in the ocean.

I don't know how many bags, jars, boxes and assorted tins I have, filled with rocks, shells and glass I've collected over the years. I have all sorts of grandiose decorating plans, craft and how-to-spiff-up-my-garden-with-shells ideas garnered from issues of Coastal Living and books with titles like Seaside Interiors and Crab Shells into Craft Shows. So far I've managed to put sand dollars and clam shells in my bird bath, and scatter assorted rocks, glass and smaller shells on book shelves.

Every time I go to the beach, I tell myself, no more! No, Dana, you don't need any more green, red OR white rocks. Your kitchen sieve is still filled with sand dollars from your last walk, waiting to be rinsed and given a jar as their new home. Their new temporary home, of course. Someday I'm going to rinse them in a solution of white glue and water to make them more durable, then glue 'em to...to...to something! Just wait and see!

At least I didn't bring home the dead seal.


  • At 1:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Why not cover the exterior of your house with these items? Cool!

  • At 8:51 AM, Blogger zhadi said…

    As long as you're not talking about the dead seal! :-)


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