Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Port Aransas, TX. I went for my dear friend’s small and intimate bachelorette party. Before we even got there, I put everybody on notice that I was on a quest for shells. And when we arrived, a lady at the front desk told me that it was “sand-dollar season.” I think when she told me that my eyes got as big as sand dollars.
After that, I became even more obsessed. The whole time I managed to manipulate someone into ditching the pool for a shell/sand dollar-scavenger hunt which I disguised as a “stroll on the beach.” The waters were actually pretty cold and there was a lot of seaweed washed up on the shore, both factors which sort of served as a deterrent for some. But for me, I was excited to explore the knotted and rank seaweed in quest of any shells that were hiding out there.
At one point, I saw something that looked like a luminous balloon caught in the seaweed. I pointed it out to my friend’s mom, thinking I made an astute observation: “Look at this litter! A balloon! I’m going to pick it up so it doesn’t harm some poor, innocent sea creature.” I felt very much like a humanitarian, good-Samaritan, and lover of all-things-sea when I made that statement. Thankfully, my friend’s mom broke my Don-Quixote-like hallucination and warned me: “NO! You don’t want to touch that! That’s a PORTUGUESEMANOWAR!” Now, I had heard of this thing before, but I never knew what it looked like. I am so glad someone was there to warn me because I probably would have ended up in the hospital, if I had picked that thing up. Those little guys will leave welts that last for days, even if they are dead. Regardless, I thought it was so cool to see something like that— a bright, shiny blue juxtaposed with the earthy and dingy seaweed.
In fact, the whole trip was a lot of fun for me. I spent a handful of hours with good friends, just chatting and discovering little exciting treasures in the sand (including sand dollars!), and just really enjoying the present. Although I do love to reminisce with friends I haven’t seen in a while, it’s even more of a favorite of mine when we are so carefree and happy that we are living in the day itself, creating current moments that will later turn into those unforgettable memories. Anyway, I came home with an enormous shell collection, which I have incorporated as decoration pieces and to also serve as little reminders of something I can’t quite explain.