What I did 
on msummer vacation...

I thought it would be fun to assign myself this back-to-school essay 
that so many students write with reluctance. 

I collected seashells off Shelter Island. 
Works of art curated by waves. 
The price of admission for this gallery — 
awareness — a scarce commodity in our blurred lives.

I found a "broken heart" pulsing with color. 
It was the first time in my life I ever found a conch shell.

I witnessed the aftermath of a piggy back ride. 
Like children at play, barnacles hopped on the conch. 
Now a fossil of a good time sits on my shelf.

When I was a child at play, I would love to be lost in a sea shell search. My harvest yielded simple clam shells and salty skin. If I was lucky, I found a small crab to imprison in my bucket for a period of observation. Later, he would be released from solitary confinement, escorted out by a small hand and high tide.

I felt like a child again as I collected scallop shells 
rippling like ball gowns, 
Sadly, these wallflowers had no partners
on their dance card.
The surf had been harsh on these beauties, 
their shell mates lost at sea.

But alas, my own partner offered me this treasure. 
A coupled scallop that had survived the harsh journey to shore.
It reminded me of the two of us, married 22 years that week.

And finally, an iridescent oyster, sans the pearl.
But like a kid playing in an empty refrigerator box, 
I marvel over the packaging.