Tuesday, June 14, 2011


This feather has drifted lightly around the top of our living room bookcase for at least a year. I found it in the field behind our apartment one day last spring. Today I think I'll take it back outside and return it to nature.

I've never felt comfortable throwing away natural items. In years past I've found seashells or beach pebbles among my belongings, for example, that I decided I really didn't want anymore. But I couldn't just put them in the trash. I had to take them back to the beach and return them to the waves. It just seems appropriate to allow them to become sand.

I have some large shells that I've owned for many years -- probably since I was about 13, when I found them on the beach at Sanibel Island. Now I'm wondering what to do with them. Do I take them all the way to England? Or should I return them to Florida and throw them back in the Gulf of Mexico, where they belong?

This compulsion is all about my sense of order. Everything has its place -- the place where it was created, the place it dies and returns to the earth. All the travels in between don't change that order. And throwing a rock or shell or feather in the trash, along with the coffee grounds and the Chinese-food containers, seems to violate nature.


Barbara said...

I'm kind of like that too. I have a really hard time relegating good things that still have a life of beauty to the trash bin. I can't say that I've gone as far as returning shells to the ocean, but I couldn't bear to throw them out. God help me if I ever have to move!

I'm still happy to store a box or two or even three of things you want to keep but don't want to ship across the ocean!

The Bug said...

This is kind of spooky. The prompt for a poetry meme I participate in is a seashell this week. (Wow what an awkward sentence!) You can read my poem if you want, but Willow's poem is sort of addressing how you feel, in a roundabout way: http://willowmanor.blogspot.com/2011/06/hostage.html

e said...

If you really want to send them back to Florida, another option would be to send them to me. How long will you be staying in England?

Fresh Garden said...

No, no, no, don't listen to e, send them to me. If you want to find me, just look in the mirror.

Laurie Brandriet Keller said...

I totally respect this theory of returning and love your spin on it. I think your shells will look great somewhere here at my Farm. Now we all want them. xoxo. My photo is a white Begonia.

Reya Mellicker said...

I totally get it! During my years in San Francisco I collected about a hundred sand dollars. Before I moved to DC I went to the beach and laid them out in a nice long line at the edge of the water, then waited for the waves to reclaim them. Later I thought about how great it was to borrow the dollars for awhile, then repay my debt.

Very cool blue jay feather!