Do Pebbles Belong At The Seaside?

In recent years, I have adopted a habit of collecting a few pebbles and shells from my visits to the seaside.

I have a rather lovely water feature in my garden, the water from which, tumbles onto the clean polished pebbles and splashes indiscriminately into the air.

I also have a shell garden, placed on a flat stone by the front door which in my mind’s eye is a beautiful piece of art.

I don’t know, if it is because I consider myself to have collected enough  pebbles and shells, that quite often, I now seem to have acquired a sense of guilt for continuing to take these inanimate stones and empty shells from the seashore.

I have this constant feeling that every time I have picked up a pebble and considered its beauty and then discarded it back into the sea, it has somehow had a lucky escape.

Can it be right?, I ask myself, to take an object from where it belongs and transport it in my luggage to my garden hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Is there a finite number of pebbles and shells?, and is my collection likely to deprive future visitors of their right to see these objects in their natural environment?.

In my garden, I have created art, in the sea or on the shore they are home.

I have been struck, by how I seem to have this innate sense, that belonging and identity are wrapped up in staying close to roots and close to family and close to faith and close to home.

That somehow, to break out of that sphere of the life into which I have been conditioned and nurtured would somehow be a risk or a betrayal or a failure.

I am beginning to see that this logic of staying put is pretty much the same, as thinking that the inanimate object in the sea values its home.

Perhaps the fact, that I have transported that object, and created a work of art which is a thing of beauty, and a wonderful addition to my garden which is appreciated by all who come to visit me, is not a betrayal of it’s origins, but a sign of how the courage to change can be transforming and, yes, beautiful.

My next blog will be: Writing My Diary A Day In Arrears

William Defoe



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