As I open it, the carrier bag containing my “Black Things From The Beach” smells of the sea. It’s pure nostalgia because I have lived away from the sea now for 4 years.
In the bag are black bits of wood, a dark pebble or two, a piece of seacoal, some dusky egg cases, more bits of black seaweed and, very un-black, a bright green, plastic American Indian chief, complete with magnificent headdress. He is poised on one knee, taking aim with a rifle. Taking a shot, no doubt, at a pesky cowboy or two… if only there were any. But this Indian was quite alone. Without friend or foe. I found him tangled up in some seaweed. An ignominious end for a brave warrior.
A tideline in September with a drizzling sea fret is not a place for the melancholic. It is full of loss. Lost, rejected, discarded things .. “washed up” broken down, worn out and weathered. I am not immune to its cheerless aspect but, should I feel inclined to trudge on and on in a south easterly direction to meet a watery end, I would inevitably be stopped in my tracks by some curious thing with a wonderful story that I had yet to discover. You know how it is .. the more you know, the more you realise you know almost nothing at all.
And of course the tide line, with its fascinating, if forlorn, array of mysterious things, is different every day. I can understand the addictive nature of beachcombing.
So Black Thing today is, I think, a spotted dogfish egg case, irresistible with its twining tendrils and its long slender shape. The egg cases are normally empty but if you should find one with a little dogfish embryo or two, go to kind Jim Hall’s page here at Glaucus.org where he will tell you about his successes and failures in raising abandoned dogfish. Its a tricky business.
I found a bunch of the egg cases all tangled up together, a mermaid’s charm bracelet of pods, but drew just one, lying like some beautiful sleeping thing and I had to add the ever vigilant Indian with his gun. They are on the windowsill again. Behind the Indian is the net curtain.
I thought this elegant thing deserved an artsy title.. Henry Moore would surely approve.
Recumbent Figure with Added Indian
I am wondering who lost the green Indian and thinking that “green” is a curious choice for a human of any kind.