I’ve been a beachcomber for longer than I can remember. From any beach that I lived at, near or visited, I always found peace and perspective walking the tide lines looking for gifts from the ocean. There’s something about picking up a treasure that the ocean has laid out in your path. As I study the details of a shell, or a sharks tooth , a piece of coral, or a piece of sea glass, I look at the ocean as it stretches to an endless horizon and am always humbled at just how small I am in comparison to the world.
There’s the thrill of the hunt that becomes an obsession. On the days that I have commitments such as work, I wonder what is lying on the shore or is resting on the ocean floor beneath the waves and what I’m missing on discovering. Sometimes it’s a pure ache within my soul when the ocean is calling for me to come to it and I can not go. If too many days pass that I can’t don my fins, snorkel and mask and slip below the surface while immersing myself in the turquoise, crystal clear salt water then I notice I become a bit cranky or on edge.
I’ve not been feeling too well for the past few days thanks to an abscess molar tooth. Infected right to the tip of the root below the gum line. Ouch…. ouch doesn’t even describe the pain. Neither do many of the curse words that you can list. Most of my weekend was spent in a Tylenol with codeine induced haze. This morning after I dropped my eleven year old off at school, I felt good. I didn’t feel any pain!
It’s a Monday. Most people would be at work. The beaches wouldn’t be full of campers, kids, other combers, surfers or fishermen. My side of the island had a forecast for rain and cloudy skies for the entire day but the other side of the Koolau’s showed promise.
I was so excited to be pain-free that I zipped right home, which was only a mile and a half away, to grab my water bottle and breakfast and I was off. Forty minutes later I was on the other side of the island at one of my favorite spots.
The sun was shining in all of its glory. The surf was flat. The water looked like smears of blue, turquoise and teal oil paints bleeding into one another. The wind was light and variable. It was a gorgeous day. Unlike the mainland, Oahu’s weather can change drastically from one side to the other, even though you might only be 30 miles away. One area can be dreary, chilly, raining and have ominous skies. Even only just 20 miles away, you can leave that area of depressing weather and find yourself in such beautiful weather that has you thinking that you just fell into a Hawaiian postcard photo shoot.
My first thought upon parking the car and seeing the ideal conditions laid out before me where the sand met the ocean was “I really hope that my fins and gear are in the back of the car!” I so desperately was hoping my gear was there so that I could get in the water and dive for shells and sea glass. Plus I’m approaching that time frame of getting a little edgy from having too much time pass from when my gills got wet last. And of course not… they weren’t there. Which left me befuddled because I almost always keep my gear in my car just for perfect conditions like this.
Oh well… I sighed and thought: I’ll watch the surf reports and the weather forecasts for the rest of the week and maybe if conditions line up again just right, I’ll try to get in the water on one of my days off this upcoming week.
I took off my slippahs (what we call flip-flops in Hawaii) and slid into my Keen beach combing shoes and set off to start looking along the tide lines on shore for treasures.
Right from the start, I found a beautiful and perfectly pitted sea marble. Ooo, things can only get better! I walked and walked, taking breaks to sip ice-cold water from my Hydroflask and wondering why I was sweating so much. Then I looked down at what I was wearing. I had been so excited to feel good and get out today that I left the house wearing what I had put on to drive Katie to school. A pair of leggings and a SUNY sweatshirt. Yes, a sweatshirt. I told you it was chilly back on my side of the island!
I walked and walked and walked. Stopping often to kneel and sift through the rubble that had washed up. Finding a handful of shivas and beautiful, thick chunks of sea glass in white, brown and amber, lime green and kelly green, and my favorite aqua and cobalt blues.
On the return walk to the car I was rewarded with a large textile cone shell, a few pieces of pottery and milk glass.
Looking for treasure is relaxing, but the fun begins when I get home and dump my dive bag of jingles out before me. It’s with a cup of coffee or a beer, depending on the time of day for the choice, and a little music playing that I spread out my loot and spend the better part of an hour inspecting each piece.
It was a good morning. A good morning, indeed. While I’m fresh on the subject, I’m signing off so that I can RIGHT NOW put my fins and gear in the back of my car where they belong!