To negotiate much of the tide line one need to be fairly agile. It is a matter of leaping from one slippery rock to another, of wallowing ankle-deep in sodden tangle, of wading through shell-strewn pools and sometimes climbing up steep barnacle-crusted rocks to skirt the incoming tide. To me it is all sheer glory.
With the sharp, clean smell of sea filling my nostrils, the roaring breakers in my ears and the astringent caress of fine spray on my cheeks, I am content to wander for hours.
The dominant motive is always to gather driftwood, but it is difficult to resist the fascination of collecting a few limpets or periwinkles to smash and feed the waving tendrils of anemones in the colorful pools, or turning over a stone to watch the green shell encrusted crabs scuttling to fresh hiding places.
My fertile imagination, fed by many a colorful bygone story , pictures dedicated beachcombers sometimes spending stormy nights in convenient caves so as to be the first to pounce on any trophy the sea might bestow- no doubt kept warm by the unflagging hope that it might be a cask of whiskey!
I can recall someone finding a sack of flour which he claimed be quite fir for use because the flour on the outside formed a paste which had kept the inside dry. Another found a box of candles which was very useful. A summer day is often bullied out of existence in a single night.
The morning following is bright and as we know too well, treacherously calm. On days like these there are always plenty of driftwood and one begin by collecting every piece and making little piles along the shore to be collected on the return journey, but always, a little farther along, there are choosier pieces of driftwood than those already gathered and so one continues acquisitively until there are far too many piles to be carried home and one has to select the most desirable pieces and leave the rest, hoping it will be there another day.
My most treasured find to date is merely a piece of driftwood, part of a branch of a tree, but beautifully sculpted by nature into a classic representation of a female figure. Splendid days spend at my beloved seaside..