By Sheila P. Strong
I’ve been a beach girl since I was a baby. I spent many summers at Giant’s Neck in Connecticut, where my sister Kathy and I would be the first ones up with our pails, looking for treasures that the sea brought us, rain or shine.
At low tide, right in front of our cottage, we’d throw rocks to get the clams to squirt and dig and dig, harvesting some of the best tasting steamers I can remember. My brother Sam would carry me to the sandbar so the crabs wouldn’t bite my feet. (I didn’t realize until years later that they were probably biting his feet, but he had to shoulder “Big Brother” duties.) My sister would point out the best pieces to collect.
I have jars and jars of shells, shell pieces, sea glass, and pottery shards from every beach I’ve been to. It’s in my heart and soul to be at a slight bend searching for hours on beaches, through low tide lines and clusters of seaweed, through rocks and crevices during every season, and especially after a storm.
When a heart-shaped object, like a piece of coral I found in Clearwater Beach, Florida, appears, it is my sister—in heaven now—still pointing out treasures for me to pick up. We’re still beachcombing together. She helped me find a heart-shaped white rock at Misquamicut in Rhode Island and a heart-shaped gray stone at Hammonasset.
The love of the beach is my therapy. It centers me, and it’s the place where I am content and at peace. I love the smell of the ocean, the sound of the waves crashing, the sun touching my skin, the sand between my toes, the piping plovers darting in and out of the water, the seagulls, and a treasure of some kind just awaiting discovery.
This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine January/February 2020 issue.