The Nature of Reverence
One of these days I will remember to capture on camera, the very first instant I find something for my collections. It is a journey no-one else gets to follow...
The first glimpse of this was of the entire seal, glossy and fresh. But dead. Washed up from the ocean for who knows what reason. Lying high up on Yzerfontein beach.
I knelt down to look at it. Felt its sleekness and looked at it's dead eye. Beautiful, big eye. Long black whiskers.
The second time I smelled it before I saw it. Gagging, I took a very wide detour around it's rotting place.
The many times after that for maybe a month?... I watched and smelled its decay. Then finally one day it was clean. All the little, rather creepy, roach-like critters had done their job well. This is how I picked it up.
Isn't nature just...? I'm in awe. And wonder.
I find these shells high up in the sand dune banks of Churchaven beach. Found burried deep and often washed out by high tides. Bleached and aged. Some are brown when first dug up. They seem eaten away. Altered by many moons and chalky to the touch.
I love their texture.
Pieces of domestic hsitory...what is this mysterious appeal of the tiny remnant of antiquity, a bit of ceramic from long, long ago?
Washed up in a mud-slide outside an old Karoo town in the middle of nowhere. This is where my shards come from. My 77 yr old mom sends them to me. Together, she and I have explored the old dump site like two frenzied gold diggers, practically salivating at the sight of all the gorgeous specimens lying scattered like so many nuggets, just waiting to be collected. We have to tear ourselves away. I end up with severe back-ache from walking bent over double , eyes glued to the ground, lest I should miss one absolute beauty in the blink of an eye. I find bottles too. This is something we grew up doing, and it has never lost its appeal... Treasure hunting in old dumping grounds. Just so much fun!!
The SPIRAL. Yet another of my obsessions. Will it ever cease to enthrall me? These are delicate, white, exquisitely proportioned segmented tubes. They are fairly rare on the beach I go to. But sometimes I'll find three on one walk. When I put one in a box-framed collection, I feel a little twinge of attachment. It's hard to let them go!. There is something about the way they are curled up, that reminds me of the state of an embryo - vulnerable and precious.
One late afternoon in November ( I think) I was walking on Churchaven beach with Ianthe. I saw a tiny white crab shell. Picking it up I said: 'Wouldn't it be amazing to find one with all it's legs' pointing at where it was missing its appendages. We walked around an outcrop of sandy rock, and lo! There, scattered at my feet, lay literally about 50-60 of these tiny crab shells. Perfectly preserved. Newly shed. All appendages intact! I felt like I had been given the most luxurious Christmas present of my life! Taking them home was a feat of unbelievable focus and dedication. The wind was howling and I had nothing but a packet to carry them in. The slightest touch would cause them to fall apart.
I saw that I had managed to get at least ten in perfect condition, once I had unpacked them in my studio. Needless to say, my beach gear now includes some sophisticated easy to carry containers for special treasures - nah! not really. Boxes or bags with flat bottoms.
The latter being something I am not intending to become... ; )
The common or garden snail. But isn't she a beauty? That twirly thing, the spiral again...
I love this photo.
The word that comes to me each time I look at these items and work with my collections, is: Reverence. I am seeing form and simplicity, as if for the first time, in the dead and discarded things of nature, and the awe and reverence I feel is filling my cup for the moment ...
These images and plenty more, will be selling on my etsy shop in the coming week, as photographic giclee prints and also available framed. My husband, the designer behind Luna Designs SA, makes my frames from recycled wood and sprays them white. I looove them. Come and see...