She Sells Sea Shells by the Seashore

Winter seems to have passed rather quickly here in Dinard. During our week of snow, ice and frigid temperatures, it was hard to stay warm in the apartment which was built for summer fun, not winter residency. Unlike Rick, who is like a blazing furnace generating heat at all times, my basal temperature is more than a full degree lower than typical humans, which means that the cold is not something I cope with easily. But like a minor miracle, practically over night, we went from -3 to 18º Celsius (in Fahrenheit something like 26 to 65º). This week the sun has been particularly bright and inviting, luring me out of doors and back onto the beach.

I have noticed that the shoreline goes through various rearrangements and tidiness, depending, I suppose, on tidal strength and wind direction. The seaweed can more or less litter our sands, sometimes collecting in front of our house, sometimes piling up further down the beach, sometimes disappearing altogether. Often too I find that there are many shells on the shore, and at other times very few.

Yesterday when we took our afternoon beach stroll, the sands were particularly rich with the empty and broken shells of little sea creatures. Tide pools here are not like ones I’m used to in California, which are full of sea life–brightly colored anemones, hermit crabs, snails, sea stars and small fish. Here you will find mussels clinging to the rock, but not much other visible life. This may have something to do with the number of sea birds that make this shore their home. They are probably ravenous and very efficient. Human scavengers follow right along afterwards, and tend to take what’s left. Rarely, even in the cruelest weather, have we noticed a low tide without people with their buckets and shovels.

We see enormous ferries going back and forth between Ireland or the UK and San Malo, passing a couple of times a week. Each one holds 1500 passengers. I can’t quite understand, under the present circumstances, how so many people would be making this voyage. We have wondered if the ferry boats have been deployed as freighters, hauling equipment. Another curiosity in the world of large vessels is that often at night I see large ships with their bright lights anchored on the horizon, always in the exact same spot. I suppose that they are awaiting clearance to sail into harbor in the morning.

You’ve heard of tangerine skies. Last week we experienced tangerine waters. Our view is due north, so we don’t get the sun setting over the ocean, but with the lengthening of the days we do get some reflected color in the evening. It’s hard to tell in the photograph above where the sand ends and the water begins.

We had a lovely time with our grandchildren over their break. Our daughter spent a few days with us as well, but now they have gone home and we are alone again. It feels like spring, the way spring arrives back home at this time of year, gentle and sweet. There are daffodils everywhere and pink clouds of blossoms on trees. But this is Brittany, northern France. I can’t say that this kind of weather will last. Conventional wisdom states that Jack Frost does not sleep before mid-May, and that is still a long time off.

3 thoughts on “She Sells Sea Shells by the Seashore

  1. WOW! stunning pictures! Our coasts in California are marine sanctuaries, and are protected from people taking things..perhaps that is part of the reason?


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