It is our spring school vacation here in Massachusetts. My daughter and I are enjoying a staycation of sorts. With Easter and The Marathon, it didn't feel like vacation until yesterday. We decided that we would try to visit a few new places this week. Yesterday, we got up early and headed for Plum Island in Newburyport. I am always struck by how short a distance I have to travel from my normal stomping grounds in order to feel like I have "gotten away."
A mere hour from my house and I felt hundreds of miles away. We went directly to the Wildlife Refuge, which is beautiful and rugged. Unfortunately, we were unable to walk along the six miles of beach because of the nesting shore birds (Piping Plovers), but we did get out on state park property on the point. This little spot had all that we wanted: tide pools, rocks, sand, gentle rolling waves, and an expansive view. I think this last thing is why I love being at the ocean, the sky opens up and the horizon reveals itself. This opening of the physical landscape brings a calmness to my being. I feel small in this environment, which allows me to relax.
And relax we did! We spent five hours exploring tide pools, walking over rocks, lying on the beach, navigating boardwalks, eating lobster rolls and fried clams, and walking through the town, but one moment stands apart from all the rest - the two of us, looking for "treasures" amongst the rocks.
Sadly our oceans are full of trash, but some of it speaks of a different time or of those who make their lives on the water. When they were young, the children loved collecting these sea treasures: bits of fishing nets, lobster traps, buoys, and rope; as Tom Zart said, "one man's trash, is another man's treasure."
Yesterday, as we wended our way through the rocks, we found "sea rope", "sea metal" and "sea leather," and as we did, we would call out to each other. We are collectors at heart.
In the old days, we would always leave the beach with as many pieces of the sea-worn fishing items as we did rocks and shells, but yesterday was different, we referenced these items and evoked memories, but we left them on the beach. The treasures we collected were of the more traditional kind: rocks, shells, and sea glass.
They are treasures because they are beautiful, but they are also treasures because I collected them with my daughter, they now hold the memories of a day at the beach spent together doing the thing we enjoy - exploring and collecting.