Saturday, December 02, 2006

Kids Love Tidepools

We spent a couple hours as the waves receded in a little cove on Point Arena combing the tidepools for treasures of one sort or another—abalone pieces, hermit crab shells, starfish parts, eroded rocks, sea-shaped driftwood—until all the kids had piles of colorful ocean junk and all the parents’ pockets were filled with souvenirs of the day.

I love seeing kids, especially Mimi, on the beach: it’s great to be in a place where all the little ones can rage about screaming and falling down while the grownups saunter about chatting about nothing in particular.

My kid is an inveterate collector; she piled up an entire museum display of stuff, making sure that everyone was invited to take a look. At the end of our beachcombing session, it took some time to complete the winnowing process for items to bring back home; The kid needed a good deal of persuading not to bring everything she found—including half a broken plastic coffee cup carved smooth by the surf.

Our stay here is turning out to be quite lovely; the weather is perfect—mild, sunny, and not to windy—the food is copious and delicious, and we’ve got plenty of booze to round of the hard edges of parenting and interpersonal relationships.

I even scared up a bike: a fine old Peugeot—lugged steel, cottered cranks, Simplex components. I think it might be a UO-8, but it’s got cantilever brakes and it looks like 650B wheels. The caretaker here said someone left it here and invited us to take it home with us if we want to.

I’d rather leave it here for someone else to enjoy. Like my daughter, I’m an inveterate collector—of bicycles, though, not sea creatures.

And just as she learned today to see the value of leaving some things behind, so do I. Her pile of shells was winnowed to the essentials, my pile of bikes could stand to be, too.


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