where the writers are
Late September

Late September and the sun is warm and soft on my skin. We, H and I walk along the path that borders the beach. There is something special about this day and I can't quite figure out what that special is. Our walk is not planned. We were driving to the post office and the bank and the grocery store and found ourselves close to the beach. The sight was alluring. It was like opening up a big box of dark lucious chocolates and knowing you only wanted the one with the marzipan filling. You know you only wanted one to satisfy. It was a little like that. Finding ourselves getting out of the car. The Small Dog in tow. The people walking along caught up in the net of the day. Some sitting on rocks - just looking out, to sea, at themselves, pondering something greater. Everything glittered and shone and there were people taking photographs of themselves, of the world, of, perhaps something beyond themselves. I don't know.  A man lay on the stone pier below where we walked. He wore sunglasses and a hoodie with the hood up around his head. His legs were splayed and his arms too and he looked so at peace, so accepting. I said to H, I envy him. His trust in his surroundings. I said, I wish I could do that. Lie there, prone, open to the world.

The Kelp crunched like bubble wrap underneath my bare feet. We had found ourselves on the strand beckoned as we were by the pure sensation of wanting to escape.  We naturally went our separate ways with H wading out into the still water and I chancing my steps into tide pools and rambles without intention. I had no direction yet H looked as if he knew where he was going. The Small Dog divided her allegiance between us, going from one to the other. Always eager to please by running back and forth whenever either of us called out to her. 

You can learn a lot about yourself on the beach. It throws all the crap away. The beach. There is nothing there to chide or challenge. All you have is your step, your way of being. Especially if nobody else is around or within close proximity. I looked into tide pools and saw sketches of beauty that could have been scrolls of stories that I knew would not last come the next high tide but my eye followed them like pure art. Temporary scrolls of wisdom.

I gathered shells. I looked for the imperfect ones, scorning the entirety of most. I wanted to string the day together when I got home. I wanted to somehow capture it - make the intangible into something real. I gathered a handful and knew they would suffice. 

Small birds flew low over the water and I wondered if they were Swifts and thought they were putting on a fine airshow for us and again remarked to myself and even queried why everything seemed to stunningly beautiful and wondered why my eyes were keen and extra sharp to take it all in. 

When we got home I strung the shells onto a piece of hemp. At first the brown string unravelled when I cut into it but I persisted. I quickly put the shells on the string and tied knots  to separate each shell. I hung them from the blue shelf in the kitchen, right over my spice rack. I said to H, there that will always remind us of our day. And then I turned to dinner and with a sharp knife ran it down the centre of the leaves of green curly Kale and I cut away the main vein, the tough fibre with ease so that only the tasty bits remained. I put the leaves into the bamboo steamer to cook. And then I turned my attention back to the string of shells hanging from the blue shelf and I went to touch them and they moved back and forth like a tide, like time, like something incredibly special and I swear those shells mattered so much to me, like I was watching my life hanging from string, from a blue shelf and hell it was the most incredible feeling I have yet to experience because it was as if I had finally come to knotting myself together and it all made sense.

8 Comment count
Comment Bubble Tip


A perfect description of a perfect day.


Comment Bubble Tip

Thanks for reading, Jane!

Thanks for reading, Jane! Each day has to be treasured. mx

Comment Bubble Tip

Wow! This is one of my


This is one of my favorite pieces that you've written Mary, and you've written so many winners. You described the beach perfectly:

"You can learn a lot about yourself on the beach. It throws all the crap away. The beach. There is nothing there to chide or challenge. All you have is your step, your way of being. "

So true. I have a jar of pink mottled scallop shells with a few moon shells tucked in around them. I picked each one on a perfect day at the beach when I was 19 years old. I can still recall the day in vivid detail. I carefully constructed that jar, and it has followed me from place to place.

It is my most treasured "thing."


Comment Bubble Tip

We must be kindred souls,

We must be kindred souls, Annette. Is there anything nicer than being on the beach with no particular course in mind....thank you for your lovely comment. I treasure it. mx

Comment Bubble Tip

Can I be there next time?

Can I be there next time? Please?

Sounds so perfect, Mary. Your writing is so vivid, it took me away from this grey, windy morning here and I was there with you. I especially liked how you said that you can learn a lot about yourself at the beach as I'm a believer in that too, and then you strung the shells to hang in your kitchen.

This is one of my favourites too. Thanks, Mary. M

Comment Bubble Tip

Being there -

Of course you can! Each time I find myself at the beach I wonder how I've gone so long without it - strangely it is both a soporific and uplifting experience at the same time. It chills me out and stimulates...Thanks for reading and I hope you get to the beach soon. mx

Comment Bubble Tip

You and H had such a

You and H had such a beautiful day at the beach--I loved every moment Mary! Today, we have a wet, stormy day gathering, culminating with 100 km winds outside but we're snuggly warm inside with a pot-roast gently simmering, fresh bread baking and a pot of coffee brewing. Warm and snug with comfort foods and each other. . . :) J

Comment Bubble Tip

Sounds cosy, Judee and the

Sounds cosy, Judee and the perfect antidote to the storm outside! Thanks for the thumbs up! mx