I am addicted to roaming the beach bent at the waist, scouting amidst the sand granules for little treasures. Most are of course fool's gold - delicately colored pebbles that lose their appeal as soon as they dry, tiny paired clam shells that inexplicably become cliched kitsch when removed from their context, polished broken shards that are perfect in the palm of my hand but ones I usually leave behind in a neat little pile next to where our blanket was spread out.
Yesterday, however, I found these. Soft, water-smoothed shell fragments each bored and carved in irregular and beautiful patterns. Is there a marine animal that eats the calcium of cast-off shells? Are the holes made by the ocean? There weren't very many of these in the span of shoreline that I combed, and I brought all the ones I could see home to see what happened when they were taken out of their environment. Still lovely through dry, still intriguing, still not hackneyed. Probably destined for jewelry.