A young friend of our family presented me with an exceptional Christmas present this year. It is so special to be given something handmade. Kelsey is a college student who is studying psychology; she is also a gifted violinist. (It is usually the busiest people who seem to be able to always find pockets of time.)
My evergreen wreath hangs outside on my garden gate--a symbol of strength and durability, as evergreen will survive the raw winter months. I've seen olive wreaths, and rowan wreaths, and laurel wreaths on statues at the MET, of course. But I've never seen a beach wreath. All the pieces of this wreath are from beaches in Maine and Rhode Island. I've hung it in the entrance hall, and on days when it is much too windy and bitter to walk the coastline, I get a little lift remembering the things we found there. It even smells a tiny bit salty.
The ocean is a useful reminder of renewability, to say nothing of flux. Energy ebbs and flows; days fade and burn; the children come and go. In this circle of beach detritus, I am reminded of those tidal highs and lows, and I realize yet again that you never have one without the other.