Plum Island Reverie

Every year my birthday gift is the same…drive to the ocean and walk the beach.

As background, I have a summer birthday, and walking the beach among all the vacationers, children and sun worshippers is not my idea of bliss.

Now I’m no fool, all I have to do is delay a few days until it’s September, preferably a sunny, not too hot – not too cool, weekday. The summer crush is over, the children are back in school, and the beach is nearly deserted. That’s just the day for me!

The last few years we’ve driven to Newburyport, Massachusetts, specifically Plum Island and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. This year Hurricane Dorian had blown through a few days earlier and kicked up loads of shells. There were the classic New England trinity – clams, oysters and mussels – along with lots of “exotics” not often seen on our beaches, especially Sand Dollars.

Sand Dollars everywhere!

I have never seen that many whole Sand Dollars in one day. It brought back memories of a fellow on Marco Island Florida who would walk the beach looking for ones that were still alive. He’d wind up and pitch them back into the surf to be carried out with the tide to live another day. He showed me how they’re really flattened out sea urchins and when alive are a lovely fuzzy purplish maroon. I silently thanked him for the knowledge as we threw one after another into the sea.

Sunlight and fresh sea air… now that’s a gift!

A5 landscape Arteza Watercolor Book