This afternoon, after I got off work, I put on three extra layers of clothing and my wool hat and braved the cold, wind, and rain to walk on the beach.
Yes, I swear my camera was not set to black and white when I took that photo – it really was a grayscale landscape. The advantage to going on such a dreary day was that I had the beach all to myself, at a time when the unsettled weather meant that the waves had been dredging all sorts of pretty things up onto the shore.
At the south end of the island, I was surprised and delighted to spot several Laughing Gulls whose black hoods had almost completely grown back in – a sure sign of spring? – plus there were about half a dozen skimmers around, which I hadn’t seen for a while.
By far the best find, however, was a knobbed whelk shell as long as my hand, the biggest once I’ve ever come across. When I spotted it it was mostly buried in the sand, and I couldn’t believe my luck when I pulled it out and discovered that it was intact, empty and whole and perfect.
I’m not a big shell collector most of the time. What would I do with boxes full of shells? Better to leave them for the hermit crabs, who can put them to good use. But this one, heavy though it was, absolutely had to come home with me. When I flipped it over…
…its rough gray outside revealed an impossibly brilliant red-orange interior, one warm spot of color on the grayscale beach.