Over the course of the week E collected shells for her classmates and teachers and Monday morning we put them together for her to take back with her to school. Shells are plentiful on the island and fun to collect if you’ve got a strong enough back to support “the stoop” or are patient enough to walk along the shore with someone who stops every few seconds to pick up another one. Some that walk the beaches are in search of the rare, the perfectly intact, the exquisite. None of these standards apply to the four-year-old’s quest for collecting. If the color is interesting on a broken fragment, if the shell is large and covered in barnacles, if you stub your left big toe on it – it’s fair game. Sorting these into bags and inserting the notes was almost as much fun as the collecting. Watching the other kids crowd around her basket in delight was definitely the best.
Shells as structural components of sandcastles…