iggandfriends

Life, crafty stuff, long walks, thoughts, and little oddities.


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Fragility and strength

The gale hit last night. Rattling doors and windows, whistling through cracks. Furious winds whipping waves up into a frenzy. Yet by dawn blue skies had appeared, clouds blowing onwards to the east. My morning stroll brought the sight of bladder-wrack and kelp piled high, debris churned up from the ocean floor. Rockpools muddied and sullied by sand. Tangled on the shoreline a few unfortunate fish lay, victims of the storm. Yet on top of the seaweed a fragile white globe lay, cradled gently. A fragile sea potato shell had somehow ridden in on the waves, coming to rest intact. Strength in the storm.

sea potato

NB – a sea potato is a type of sea urchin – Echinocardium cordatum. Their shells are incredibly fragile and it’s quite rare to find one intact. For a closer look, check out this post by Inish Boffin Crafts

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Listening shell

The beach is a liminal zone. Neither land nor sea. Constantly moving from one to the other. Each tide brings a new scene, a fresh place to walk. Ever changing, ever constant. A place of contradictions. A place to rest, to walk, to think. To pray. To talk. To laugh and to cry. A place for the tired times and the energetic ones. For trudges in glumness and dancing in joy. A place of exploration. A place of being. Where my deepest thoughts are spoken and my heart’s desires are expressed, spoken into the wind and the tide. For the ears of my God alone.

There are times when the silence from God seems to deafen me.  When it seems as though the wind and the tide are the only ones listening. And it’s time like this that God can strike unexpectedly… a word at the right time, an unexpected ranbow, a sweeping sunset that takes my breath away. God’s gifts for me to enjoy. This little shell reminded me that as I walk along the sand, as I practice being in the company of God, he does listen. Even in the silence.

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Scallop shells

Walk along the beach.

Tide riding into shore on the wind.

Waves playing.

The shingle rumbles.

Sand crunches.

Such activity.

There, lying tumbled,

A scallop shell lies.

Orange white, firm ridges.

The pilgrim shell of long ago.

Cradle it in your hands.

Remember.

This time is pilgrimage.

Like the traveler of old

Headed to a strange place

Savour the journey.

Value each step.

Be in this place

Listen to the song of the journey

Step into lands unknown.

scallop shell


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Shimmering seas and fairy boats

The sea seemed to shimmer today. Waves like liquid silk rolled gently in to shore. The seaweed floated languidly on the incoming tide, sheltering the otter. The Isle of Man hunched low in the distance, mountains outlined against pale sky.  Silver light danced across the bay. I placed an upturned shell on the water, with a tiny pebble for ballast. Watched it carried away on the breeze to the land of Tir-na-Nog. A boat for the fairy folk, in the land beyond the sea.

shimmering seas

NB Tir-na-Nog is the place beyond the sea where the tylwyth teg, the fairy folk dwell, in Celtic mythology – Welsh, Irish and Scottish folk-stories refer to this place. If you’ve ever stood and looked out to sea on a sunny day, and seen the island covered with cloud floating there, the one that doesn’t exist – you’ve seen the land of the Tir-na-Nog, the land beyond the sea.


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Sea monsters and periwinkles

Grey rocks cover the beach, turning under my feet as I walk. Seaweed drapes elegantly over them, a friendly sea monster reaching out tendrils in greeting. Shells lie in nooks and crannies, wedged in place by the force of the waves. Hiding from the gulls. Shining copper brown catches my eye, stark in contrast. Basking in the late sun, the periwinkle nestles on its own boulder, waiting for the turning of the tide.

periwinkle