Nature enfolds us, sky -- clear or cloudy, changing colors constantly, showing sun, moon, stars -- the ocean -- calm or atoss, lapping, ebbing, sparkling -- the earth -- rocky, sandy, marshy, grassy, tree covered, dessert, much, much more. We cannot resist playing with it, not only as children digging a hole or sifting the sand, as adults, moving the rocks around, even here on the beach, building circles (with a rock that shows quartz white in contrast to all the browns, cairns (this year's more sloppy than in past years) and tiny markers along the edge of the sea (new this year). I speak really only of a small, small area seen here at the end of Long Beach on which I walk as much as I can in the summer, and often in other seasons as well. Every summer the rocks at the knobby end of the beach, which is really a spit between sea harbor and an inflowing creek, a nature reserve, not a public beach with lifeguards and such, the rocks are differently arranged -- Greek letters for fraternities, hearts with initials, various runes. A long-lasting circle of stones about six feet across filled with white stones. I am not a folklorist but I feel the achetypical impulses that have made people arrange these stones.
The current header photo of a circle of horseshoe crab shells (they molt and the tide brings them in) with an arrangement of seashells inside was done by sunbathers/swimmers who came here this week. It has the simple elegance of the circle, a symbol, of course, of wholeness, of the world itself, here we can read that within the ancientness of the horseshoe crabs, younger shellfish have their place, having taken many graceful shapes.
I was walking along the beach today interfering with nature myself: I was picking up horseshoe crab shells at the water's edge and laying them on the sand further up. I don't really know why I do this, but I have been doing it for several years now. It seems to inspire others to do the same, for I find lines and clusters of shells, each day. I arranged a few together and a couple, who I had not seen walking behind me, paused and the woman to said, "I like you art. You put them in families." I just said "thank you" because I do think of the biggest shells (the dinner plate size ones) as belonging to a grandfather and the salad plate size ones as being mother and father and the saucer size ones as the children. I'm sure humans have always manipulated nature, probably ever since they sheltered in caves and rearranged the rocks for comfort and safety, found grottoes further in where they painted the wonderful animals that they preyed on and which preyed on them. Now we call it art; we think they called it magic. But then isn't that what all art tries to be? Magic.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!