I decided to put half of the shells on the Beach at Hornby Island Phipps Point when I was on holiday there because at last I had space and time to be on the beach, look and pay attention smell of the low tide, oystercatchers shrill, kinglets, honk of sea lions. In the distance the ice mountains of the mainland were shrouded with cloud. The sun was setting gold sky, reflections.
It had to be at low tide though at this time of year the tides are not that low during daytime.
Sense that the mother-of-pearl pieces in particular yearn for the sea. Some worry about separating them from each other. Thinking about culture - everywhere there are the cast-off signs of human presence. A plastic straw looks like a bird-bone. Bits of glass. A running shoe. A fish net. The logs along the shore.
I cast the shells on the beach and they disappear. Sense of letting go loss. The shapes speak to me especially the round ones. What is a circle? Yesterday I collected perfectly round rocks, awed.
Smallness, insignificance as the shells disappear on the beach. I wonder if they will ever be found. Imagining a childs delight, the mystery, connection with artifact.
Walking back, I wonder if I can find them again. I want to, but I cannot.
Sense in the pieces their yearning for water, connection and in my own bodily fluids my connection with the globe.
December 26, 2001
I put the rest of the shells on Churchill Beach, where they fit in perfectly with the shells left behind by many thousands of years of shellfish harvesting by local First Nations.
Thinking about midden
what we leave behind
Will these wind up at the BC Museum one day the mysterious sign
of an ancient culture?
I cannot find them later. Every time I go down to the beach, which is daily, I look to no avail. However, I have discovered that many of the other shells
are almost-perfect shapes.
I chose to scatter the shells in the morning sunshine. I would have chosen a lower tide but there are none at this time of year. I was thinking about the underwater bowl painstakingly carved out of rock at the end of the beach. The bowl is only visible at low tide. It was carved some 10,000 years ago.
Its a bowl that holds land as well as water, holds soul.
Some connection between that disappearing work and Alluvion.
Shells scattered January 3, 2002