Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Day Without Shoulds

I hardly ever take a day off. With one thing and another, there are always bits of work of varying types to be squeezed in and most of the time I'm perfectly fine with that. I do work hard. Yesterday I decided I would just do whatever I felt like doing...I'm still celebrating the completion of "the big task". So the day began with lots of coffee, a trip to the Post Office and a leisurely browse of the news, favorite blogs, a bit of research and other fripperies.

I had been on the beach in January, but not since, I just don't enjoy beach walks in the winter...we generally have a lively to fierce wind here. Each spring there are mounds of sand in the yard, sometimes even sand on the driveway! But today was sunny, and calm, with scarcely a breath of wind so I went for the first beach walk of the season. I love the beach when it's deserted, I walked for over an hour and didn't see another soul. The sun and the sand were hot, and the air over the water was icy cold and refreshing.

Half the pleasure of a beach walk for me is looking for stuff. I've done this ever since I was a little child, when we would hunt for agates in Montana or arrowheads in Saskatchewan and Alberta. No matter how relaxing the walk, I enjoy it more if I can look for things...and even more when I find them. I've picked old glass Mardi Gras beads out of the dirt in New Orleans, and blue and white china fragments from an alley in Cornwall. (And I've kept them all, they may eventually end up in a mosaic). The beach yields up an unending assortment of fossils, wonderful stones, driftwood, sea glass, broken china, interesting rusty bits, and other surprises. Once I found a huge (HUGE) rusty spring, about a foot high and at least an inch thick, and yes, I brought it home though it must weigh ten pounds! We have hundreds of stones with holes. I figure they must be from softer fossils in harder stones, the softer parts have worn away over the years. Sometimes the holes are irregular, but sometimes they are so perfect they look as though they were drilled. There are great big chunky ones, and tiny rings 1/4" across. I love them all.

Since my nephews now enjoy hunting for beach glass, a definite hierarchy of perceived value has evolved. Brown is the least favorite color, then clear (which is frosted by the waves to a soft white), then green. We find a lot of green. The lighter odd olive and pine and lemony greens are probably from wine bottles, the medium greens from old pop bottles, remember them? Then things get interesting, with finds of pale purple, soft aqua or very pale greens provoking mild envy. The most envied pieces are the deep blue of old Noxema and Milk of Magnesia bottles, and the very hard to find red pieces. My dad suggested the red bits were probably from old car tailights. I've found pieces of pale green Jadeite glass, and some pink Depression glass, and marbles completely frosted by the waves.

We find fragments of china too, it's fun when we can identify the pattern. Blue and whites are my favorite...my sister has some Blue Willow bits which is extra fun because she collects the dinnerware, and I have a great little piece of Mikado. I found a piece of Medalta, with a cowboy hat on it (gave it to Mom), and lots of pretty floral pieces.

Did you know there is a North American Seaglass Association? The "shard of the year" wins $1,000 at their annual festival. There is some beautiful jewelry made from beach glass on their website.

This is what I found today. From now until October my pockets will generally have sand in them!

I decided I should at least pop a toe into the water, just to symbolically start the swimming season...it was bone-numbingly cold. COLD. Lake Huron is deep enough that the water hardly ever gets really warm, but by June it's usually swim-able. It is NOT, right now, in case you were wondering!

Later, I reorganized all of my gemstone beads and pearls and bead caps and findings. I love to organize things when I don't feel rushed. It was fun. And some time at the torch produced a new Pleasurable Vessel, which is now waiting for it's silver collar to be made. It was really great to take a day just to putter and play. I should really do it more often. But yesterday was a day without shoulds!

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