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Beach: A Book of Treasures

Beach: A Book of Treasures

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Beach: A Book of Treasures

ratings:
2.5/5 (2 ratings)
Length:
82 pages
25 minutes
Released:
May 4, 2012
ISBN:
9781452110127
Format:
Book

Description

Beloved author Josie Iselin's collaged images of the treasures we live with as reminders of the beach—from sea glass to driftwood, shells to stones—evoke the timeless elements of sand, ocean, and refreshing sea air. In her writings, Iselin shares thoughts on the varied ways we experience the beach while also providing fascinating insights into the scientific ecosystem of the ocean, such as how the oyster constructs its shell and the ways in which algae is classified. At once an exploration and a meditation, Beach: A Book of Treasure will delight and inspire anyone who values the unique environment of the seashore and the myriad wonders found therein.
Released:
May 4, 2012
ISBN:
9781452110127
Format:
Book

About the author

San Francisco-based artist Josie Iselin has exhibited her work at several coveted art spaces, including the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and SF Camerawork, among others. She uses a flatbed scanner to create her still life imagery.


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Beach - Josie Iselin

INTRODUCTION

THE OCEAN OFFERED UP a magnificent surprise the other day: a pod of whales spent a few hours just beyond the breakers, spouting and breaching as I watched from the shore in awe.

Home to life-forms large and tiny, the ocean is not only a world of dynamic fascination, but also the source of a fossil record that tells a layered story of life on Earth. This watery realm beckons to us, and its mysteries lap at our feet with the waves. Yet we cannot hike out into it. The beach—a fractional strip between land and sea, where the forms are ever changing—is where we stop. It is our gateway to another world. We approach this portal eagerly; as we come to the beach, over high dunes, along a path, or down a rickety ladder, we note whether the tide is high or low, whether the surf is stormy or calm. We anticipate either sand or stones underfoot. We take in the details and changes from previous visits with excitement and wonder.

The beach affords us a place to breathe more slowly; there is an immense calm that rests solidly in my heart when I am there. Stresses fade to the background. As I wander along and pick up a stone, its weight and texture—its stone-ness—is a communicator of this calm; it is a talisman for this place of serenity. And thus I start hunting for treasure. Many call it beachcombing—I call it the slow meander. Not everyone feels compelled to do this; not everyone leaves the beach with heavier pockets. But for those of us who do, these bits and pieces are cherished; they allow us to be always near the ocean.

As we build up a collection of beach objects—be it stones or shells, bones or seaglass—we become more involved with our finds, and our curiosity bubbles over. How did that hole get in this stone? Why is seaweed that fabulous shade of green or red? What are these artifacts, washed up on the shore, telling us? If we take lessons from human history, Earth sciences, and marine life itself, and incorporate them into our own mythologies, might we concoct an even richer storyline?

As beachcombers we learn not only about our collection, but also from our collection. We discover the strength of calcium carbonate and the exuberance of kelp; the generosity of granite and the efficiency of coral; the resourcefulness of the beach pea and the reticence of the plover bird; the flamboyance of the oyster and the reserve of the sand dollar. And, from all of these unique elements, we learn patience, and we gain respect for what it takes to survive. The beach becomes our place of personal discovery.

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