This was written as a way of grieving my ongoing loss of living near an ocean.
I created a microcosm of the beach because of my love of the ocean shore macrocosm. I lined the bottom of a 4-by-4 by 2-inch clear plastic lidded-box with sea-blue velvet material. In one back corner, I placed a small blue ocean-scented candle to prop up a large sand dollar discovered on a San Diego beach when my son was married there at sunset in 1996, complete with musical ocean waves and a seabird choir.
A few pieces of coral, jagged edges smoothed from my touch since acquired in Panama in 1961, reside near the long-pointed shell added two years ago from a California beach. A smooth black rock with narrow white lines from Tintagel on England’s Atlantic shore, a small purple and white rock from the Arabian Sea beach at Bombay, India, a maroon rock from an English Channel beach, shells from the Atlantic Jones Beach, New York where I grew up, and a tiny shell from the Gulf Coast Florida beach all flow together to form my microcosm of where the ocean and the beaches of the world mingle.
A tiny carved purple-stone turtle basks on a shell, representing turtles befriended over the years, from painted Red-Ear Sliders of childhood to recent box turtles. Two small seahorses nestle among the treasures, reminding me of the three-inch dried seahorse found at Jones Beach when I was engaged in 1960, and of visiting the San Diego Aquarium with my infant granddaughter in 2004.
Sprinkled over all is sand collected from many beaches. The grains of sand flow together, just as all of my memories and experiences of beaches flow together in a collage of love: each distinct yet part of the whole.
Two crystals from Arkansas remind me of the beauty which comes from beneath the earth, far from any beaches now. That even here, when life feels confined to an office in Arkansas, far from any beach, I can lift the lid, inhale the scent of ocean, salt and sand; my imagination provide a magic carpet ride to the beach.
– published in Story Circle Journal –