Have you ever put a shell up to your ear to see if you can hear the ocean? I remember being told as a child this was true, "Just put the shell up to ear and listen." While I am fairly certain that in the end what my ear is detecting is simply the wind making its way through the shell, however, is it not fantastical to imagine instead that a mystical connection still exists between the shell and the ocean that once was its home? I can identify with this idea. As a child growing up in the Northwest corner of Ohio and quite far from the ocean, the giant conch shell my parents kept in our house was elusive and indeed magical to me. Not only did the sound of the ocean travel through this alien object, but almost as impressively one could blow through it to create quite a horn-like noise that belonged on some ancient battlefield. Fittingly our father used it often at the end of the day when we needed to come home from playing for dinner. When you heard the blast of the shell you best come running!
|(Shells galore. Many of them had been bleached out|
pretty badly by the sun, but Sarah was willing to take
the time to look through and find the good ones)
As we finished all of our walks out at Sandy Point (though there are still trails not marked on the map), we found a long string of beach that connects past Whaler's Bay and heads up yonder to the rest of Oreti Beach. It was not part of why we came out that day but of course we had to walk it - there is no point in even arguing it. "Ok honey, let's walk down the beach but I'd still like to hit the trails we came for so is it alright with you. I'd like to leave enough time to come back and do them tonight." She nods in agreement but I know better. As soon as she hits that beach it is going to be almost impossible to wrench her free of it. So we walked, enjoying the weather and views. I wondered if this part of the beach were ever wide and flat enough for the Burt Monroe motorcycle
|(What a beach! Forest at it's side... very peaceful)|
And then it happened.
We wandered upon what must be at least a football sized section of the beach absolutely filled with shells. I am not sure if Sarah gasped but she might as well have for I know she was doing so on the inside. It was pretty difficult to get Sarah to leave this find. I was ready about five minutes after we arrived upon this smorgasbord of shells, while she was still slowly meandering back and forth through it (as she was "working on leaving"), and this was even after I promised I would bring her back and let her wander to her heart's content.
|(The lagoon did not offer the best|
pic so here we are posing in front of
it. Smile for the lagoon!)
|(The photos did not quite capture the|
darkness but I tried)
Thinking back to conch shell my parents kept at home, if I close my eyes I can still hear the ocean through that shell in memory. So far from the shores and yet there was the ocean reaching through to me. Sitting in New Zealand I feel perhaps a little bit like the shell itself. Do I seem as strange to these Kiwis as that shell did to me? I wonder can they hear the rushing winds blowing over the Northwestern corner of Ohio? Can they smell the slow cooking ribs of Memphis on us? Hmm, such strange thoughts and though right now they seem quite normal and I almost hope it is possible for my home to reach through me into this distant land. I suppose in ways that it does, as New Zealand reaches into us and mold us some too.
|(Hey, I like the beach too, just not like whatever Sarah has for it. Not yet.)|