Sunday, August 18, 2013

Gifts of the Sea

I stood in the water, the foam of the wave lapping gently at my toes. Maybe I should venture out an inch further, choppy waters and possible rip currents notwithstanding...

I dug my feet into the sand, letting the breaking waves wash over my feet again and again. The sea receded, leaving a fragment of  ridged brown and white seashell a few feet away from me. It looked interesting, maybe I should shift from my entrenched position and pick it up to examine its beauties.

No, I didn't want to budge from my comfortable spot. I just wanted to stay there and watch the grey clouds on the horizon as they lightened from the pink of early dawn to the brisk blue-gray of day. The wind blew steadily inwards, and the sandpiper nearby was continuing its tireless tracking in the sand following the ebb of the waves.

But I had thought about the shell, and the sea decided to fulfil my wish. The next big wave sent it crashing towards me. It was now at my feet, all I had to do was to bend down and pick it up. And pick it up I did.

It was fairly heavy and smooth at the edges, tossed about by the waves countless times against the shore. Should I keep it? I could. After all wasn't this the ocean fulfilling a random wish that crossed my mind?

But when the sea gives, it has the ability to take away as well. A superstitious fear beset me. I had been reading all the cautionary tales and flyers about rip currents, how they could snatch the unwary beachgoer from the sand.

I thought no more of it. After a brief last look at the shell, I tossed it out back into the sea. This was one shell that I would not be taking home with me.

Here are some that did make the trip back home with me.  All glittered so beautifully in the sand, and dulled once they were out of their element. But they still remain beautiful, misshapen, holed or not, shaped and smoothed by the waves and sand.


Balachandran V said...

Poetic, as ever! :-)

Sujatha said...

Thank you, Balachandran sir. Not quite poetry, though if I reformatted the entire piece and took out a few more of the complete sentences, it might achieve that status ;)

Lekhni said...

Those are some beautiful and unusual shells! Which beach was this? Whenever I try to collect shells, all I get are those little ones that look like snail shells..

Sujatha said...

It was in the Outer Banks in NC, Lekhni. The strange thing is that different islands and beaches have different types of shells, the one where we stayed was on Hatteras.
We were told that other types of shells are found around the other islands in the chain, like the 'Scotch bonnet', a bit hard to find around some areas of Okracoke. The sand was finer in Okracoke, but no luck with finding the Scotch bonnet. But I did find a few pieces of mother of pearl (not in the photo), and the pretty crosshatched little shells on the bottom of the photo there.

Lekhni said...

I've been collecting lots of sea shells this week (and thinking of you :))

Sujatha said...

At the beach, are you? Enjoy!