in theory I suppose these oysters could have made pearls before succumbing to whatever oceanic force tore them from their moorings and tumbled them toward land. but i’m not sure i’ve ever seen a pearl with just this shade of creamy slate gray. and i’m not sure i would prefer any of the pearls i’ve ever seen to this collection of unpolished wrack.
beach tumbled oyster shells
i found myself admiring the delicate beauty of the striations on this crab’s back, and then i found myself feeling bad about the two left rear legs it lost before it washed up in a tide pool in collioure france. and then i checked wikipedia and saw a photo of a ghost crab feasting on one of the most adorable animals in the entire world–a loggerhead turtle hatchling, and i found myself thinking, hmmm. too bad about those back legs, you little monster.
crab (ghost crab? speckled crab? sand crab?)
mediterranean coast, near collioure, france
this is a good month for curling up behind someone whom you are completely devoted to. someone whose warm body gives endless winter comfort. someone to whom you have pledged eternal devotion, into whose ear you could spend entire days whispering how much you love him. in my case, this would be my puggle, jack. sorry, steve…
there are a lot of beloved trees here in the south of france. olive, cypress, almond, fig, kermes oak, plane trees. but there aren’t many towering trees. everything here, including the citizenry, seems to reach a certain diminutive height, and then decide that it’s too hot to work on growing any bigger. but the atlas cedar is like a football linebacker who just walked into a first grade classroom. it looks as if it can’t quite understand how it got here, nor how it is that no one in the room even comes up to its belt buckle.
atlas cedar limb
one of my favorite things about making these big assemblages is that the whole family gets together to put them slowly and painstakingly in place, with much adjusting and disagreeing and opinion giving. it is a double gathering. a gathering of materials from a particular era of collecting, and a gathering of family to help express what the collection wants to say. this one happens to be the culmination of 4 months of gathering in southern France, since our arrival in mid-august. in that time we have sent our daughter off to college and seen her return. i have taken up collage as a new path to wander down for a while. our son has found his footing in a french middle school. and we have taken several steps deeper into the world of this region we love. the objects in this photo have been littering our floors and most other horizontal surfaces in the house for months, and photographing them and returning them to nature is like saying goodbye to a group of good friends. and, as a matter of fact, like saying goodbye to a year that has just passed. or like saying goodbye to 5 years of still blog. the end of an era. the beginning of a new one.
four months of collecting