NUMBER 5

To put this into perspective: We have lived in our family house since 1979, and in that time I had found only three glass floats before this week. We have many floats in the house because my family summered here since 1911, and my grandfather lived here year around since the mid-1940s. So most of the floats we have are not only very old, but old in their finding.

Gary has always been lucky about finding things. He has found floats the size of basketballs. But that was years ago he last brought home a float. Yet, twice he’s said, “Wow, you found that! I’m so glad it was you.”

Now, inside a week, I have five. None of them are large, in fact the largest is six or seven inches across and cracked when I found it.

Imagine a glass float traveling clear across the Pacific and then falling victim to the rocky Oregon shore.

But the little baby I found this morning is fine. I haven’t cleaned either of them. Not yet. They earned their coat of plankton, algae, and their tiny cap of gooseneck barnacles.

For most of the first ten years we lived here, I was on the beach with children or dogs. I worked with contractors and architects and took my children to school. Then I was running. I did not have much time to beachcomb, unless I spotted something out of the corner of my eye.

My older son does not remember me serving meat at meals. He barely remembers eating meat at all, he says. I gave up most flesh in 1990. We continued to eat wild seafood few times a month until recently. Now, I have a salmon fillet in the freezer, gifted by a friend who caught it in Alaska. We will certainly barbecue that fish and enjoy every bit.

Imagine that sockeye at sea for years and then returning to spawn only to end up in my freezer.

Some days the magic happens for one and ends for another.

These were the only prints I found that showed claws—raccoon on the beach?

Is it even possible not to love the morning? Not for me.

Sometimes you have to make your own beautiful.

One of the most wonderful things, to me, is realizing that I have worked collaboratively for years without knowing it. I have never met the spinners and dyers who make the materials I use in shawls and quilts, but I am newly aware that they aid my art. Their work is part of what I do.

Imagine a spinner in Canada or a dyer in Indonesia making and making and then their work comes to me to be cut and spliced, fitted and recombined with the work of foremothers’ hands to make something beautiful.

I can say it’s beautiful, even if I played a role in its making.

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9 thoughts on “NUMBER 5

      • Go for it if you are tempted! I am impressed with their postings. I submitted a single photo to this month’s pandemic silver lining theme (a red onion from the local farmer’s market), and thought for some reason it was a European journal (??), having discovered it on Submitable. Then I looked more closely recently when they contacted me for more info, and realized they are located just a few miles from us in Maine! Go figger. Your ocean photos are a perfect fit for the upcoming theme and I think they are fabulous! You can submit a ‘portfolio’ even

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