"Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Florida.Classroom for my first nature lesson, this was where I collected seashells and starfish, pieces of art that had been tossed up from the ocean. At low tide, especially after a storm, I could begin this great treasure hunt, digging in the sand and filling up my green plastic bucket. Once, when I was five years old, my father took me to the beach at night to find shells by moonlight. White starfish shone, glowing in a vast patch, and my father asked, Did they come from the sea or had they fallen from the sky?
"Back home I lined my finds along the edge of the bathtub, creating a ring that echoed the ocean and its beauty. I can't fully explain why I find seashells irresistible. Their form, their harmony -- there's something mysterious, meticulously mathematical, yet fluid about them. Something wise. And the array of colors! An orange horse conch, a rose-petal cochina, a blue chambered nautilus, and my favorite: the moon shell, a pearl gray spiral with another, more exotic name, shark eye.
"I used to look for perfect shells, but as an adult I began to love and value broken shells. Because that is what happens to us. There is a natural chipping away that I accept as part of the human experience."
- --Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Mermaid Chair
(as seen in June issue of Real Simple magazine. Used without permission.)
- to go somewhere that is green,
where the sun shines most of the time,
earth buzzes and flickers,
long-legged pink birds with exotic names like 'flamingo',
summer is permanent and nights are sultry,
where I have friends and people love me,
ocean-salt and key lime-scented air,
shrimping and palm tree adventures,
where is that place,
it is far,
far south of here,
and for now exists only in my dreams,
memories of a 12-year-old,
my heart ...
is it Heaven?
- --Sarah Apsey, June 18, 2005, Grand Rapids, Michigan