Once we scaled down the muddy coastal bluff, we landed on a rocky beach. This wasn’t a spread-out-a-blanket-for-sunbathing kind of beach; it was way too lumpy for that. My husband’s family had gathered for the weekend at a palatial oceanfront rental home to celebrate my sister-in-law’s wintertime birthday. The home, located in the small coastal community of Pescadero, CA between San Francisco to the north and Santa Cruz to the south on Highway 1, has access to a private beach we were allowed to visit.
I scanned the beach and noticed bits of sea life wedged between the rocks. Pieces of abalone and snail shells, colorful clumps of seaweed in shades of pink, purple and white, and ocean whittled driftwood mixed in amongst the rocks. As the afternoon sky darkened with an impending rainstorm pushing toward the coast, I quickly arranged the sea life into pleasing formations then took pictures of them. The time pressure sped my decision making about how to place the sea life. I quickly moved to the next spot on the beach as I only created arrangements of ephemera within arms-reach.
My sisters-in-law liked my idea of curating beach arrangements. One of them spotted a rock holding down a feather which looked like an eye with eyelashes. I added a smaller blue rock, a pupil, to the formation. After a windy half-hour on the shore looking for sea treasures, we trekked back up the bluff and into the house as the rain began to fall.