A piece of coal, well eroded and washed ashore is perfectly aligned with a bit of dune grass that was blown to the tide line by a strong west-wind. Together on the sand they present a trio of lovely textures and colors.
A note on the coal: a scuba dive leader once told us before a dive to look for old, worn coal on the bottom, and told that in that particular area it had come from steamers at sea; some of them lost at sea. When bits of rounded coal wash ashore, I wonder if they have come from a similar source.
There is something about this still life that speaks. It tells a story. Perhaps it is a sentence written in the sea’s kanji, or in a heretofore unknown abugida. It is the sea’s autobiography, in the sea’s own written words, left as a mystery for me to ponder.
I originally had this photograph oriented horizontally. It was not until I opened it to watermark that I noticed its similarity to Fragonard’s masterpiece, “A Young Woman Reading”. My parents would be delighted that I still retain bits and pieces of my art history education!
This is not the most interesting of still life compositions, but it is buried treasure for me. It has been decades since I found one of these, a whelk egg case. When I was a child and spent summers on New Jersey’s barrier islands, I would come across several in a season. This one was peeking out of the dune on the south end of Hilton Head Island, SC. It is jarring when memories like this are evoked as I walk the tide line. It is like déjà vu, but more vivid and heart-filling.
This particular egg case had completely hatched and was empty, but seeing it I could still ‘hear’ the sound that the infinitesimal whelks make when they are shaken in the egg case. I have not heard it in decades, but the sound is a delight-filled memory. Finding one of these when I was little (particularly when I had my magnifying glass with me!) was like uncovering one of the sea’s mysteries.
Like discovering buried treasure.
Well into the dunes, this horseshoe crab carapace was settled in beautifully beside the dried reed. I like how the reed echoes the points and angles of the carapace.
This horseshoe crab was huge! I will include this photo that my husband took with his iPhone of the crab next to his size 11 croc. And yes, that is an R2D2 Jibbitz on the croc. Oh, and yes, it lights up when he walks. I love it!
An almost sad still life. A desiccated jelly fish, dead coral, and a well-sanded organism of not quite clear origin, together, left by a previous very high tide. It was very windy that week, and the wind scooped out the sand from around them.
The spot of pink left on the coral echoes back to a marine life well lived.
A long-dead jellyfish disturbingly takes on the appearance of a skull. The seaweed? Well, decide for yourself. I toyed with saving this photograph until Halloween, but decided it is too much fun to wait that long.
Ultimately, I finished this photograph in the position that I photographed the original still life, but I toyed with other rotations of the photo. From the left, it was too much a ‘bowl’ and too predictable. From the right, well, it was far too evocative of a certain fast food logo for me!
Regardless of its orientation, I find myself wondering about what appears to be a cross section of the carapace. Many times I am curious about the origin of the items in the still lifes, and this is one of them.