The women on my mom’s side of the family are, at the beach, inveterate shell collectors. As soon as I was old enough to tell the difference between the shells, I learned to pick up the unusual, the beautiful, the ugly. Above (top) is my haul from this week at Holden Beach. It’s the best shelling I’ve seen here since at least 2007. I picked up an olive shell that’s three inches long (bottom, with tiny dinosaur). On Tuesday night, I said to Mom, “Now I want to find a shark’s tooth,” something I’ve found twice in 33 years at Holden Beach, and within ten minutes, I had found a perfectly pointy shark’s tooth, sitting all by its on the top of a pile.
It felt like serendipity. It felt like a lagniappe. It felt like the ocean knew it was my birthday and turned up perfectly perfect things just for me. I found starfish on the beach when we’ve never found starfish before. My cousin found an unbroken sand dollar. Mom and I both found live sea urchins.
I turned 33 on Monday; I was a bit apprehensive about my birthday, because 32 was tough. What if 33 was worse? But somehow the ocean has made me feel, through tiny natural miracles, that 33 is going to be okay. Is going to be lovely, and miraculous, and full of lagniappes. I am going to look at it that way. I appreciate that nature told me it would be okay.