Jan 022010

I hit the beach this morning as the tide was coming in. Not good timing for agate hunting, but I needed the exercise. I dodged the waves as they rolled in, heavily capped with foam resembling whipped cream. As they receded, they left the packed sand with a milk mustache. Last night’s storm left the sand littered with small pieces of wood, sizable rocks and jelly fish the color of burnt sugar. Nothing from the chalcedony family, though. I’ll return this afternoon, when the tide is going out. Maybe then I can climb over the rocks to my favorite agate cove.

Sadly, besides the organic litter, in place of agates, jasper and carnelian, the surfline on the otherwise pristine beach was also dotted with bottle caps, lighters and countless chips of colored plastic. Oregon beaches are normally quite clean, and who knows how far this stuff has traveled. Maybe from that Pacific Gyre? It’s almost as if the ocean is bringing it in, asking us to gather it before it goes back out again. It made me want to go get a rake. But the pieces are so small, you’d need something more like a vacuum. When I think of all the animals that might ingest this garbage, it hurts. Maybe I’ll take a bag with me on my afternoon foray and pick up what I can. I know I won’t even scratch the surface, but it’s something — and, hey, after all the pie I ate last week, a little more exertion can’t hurt me.

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