Monday, February 23, 2009

Found objects and memories and Tillich*

I find making new women friends face-to-face and blogger friends online, that many of us are gatherers - we like picking up shells, stones, twigs, branches, sea glass, and tiny bits of unknown treasure in forest or ocean side. I also notice that certain retail stores have, over the years, marketed to us the same items that we enjoy picking up off the ground ourselves. It's NOT the same is it buying from a store shelf ? No matter how pretty the glass or pebbles are in a jar, it's not the same as there's no memory attached to the collecting.

I remember walking home from school when I was probably in the second or third grades and kicking A stone all the way home or finding "diamonds" on the ground - generally the "diamonds" smashed Coca-Cola bottles that glistened just right if held in my hand for observation - they seemed like diamonds to me - like I had ever really seen a diamond at that age!? Those stones and glass bits hung around in my collection until I found they could be replaced with the next found treasure.

I was reminded of the childhood diamonds yesterday as there was a very nice "one" lying on the landing of our vacation condominium. My memory of childhood was so present that I couldn't help picking it up, turning it over, examining it and actually considering keeping it in my shorts pocket for a while. Feeling silly after not too long a time, I tossed it out the car window.....

I have a little dish on my bathroom counter at home that contains sea glass that I've collected on varying trips to Hawaii - Maui, the Big Island - in particular. When I see it there, no telling how many times a day, for just a second I am reminded of the ocean, the sand, the sunlight and of the love shared with my spouse on these getaway adventures. Most of the bits are green or brown, reminiscent, of course, of the "Buds" tossed overboard by some careless sea goer, then smashed by the waves on the shore over and over until the sand has rendered the pieces small and tumbled - smooth to the touch.

However, actually sorting through the glass bits prior to our present stay on Maui, I found quite a number of blue and white pieces in the mix and separating the colors, found a new arrangement on which to gaze until the next precious treasure batch comes in for sorting.

*FROM THEOLOGIAN PAUL TILLICH - found in The God of Second Chances/Erik Kobell - Paul Tillich once observed, God came to us in the form of a human being but can "just as easily have come in the form of a stick or a stone."

So why do you think we gather? Is it the memories only, the repetition of combing for an item - the calming affect - God's call? Do you gather and what is your most treasured gathering of late? I'd love to know.


Photo - SS - fun on Maui


  1. I am a nature gatherer. Most most recent gathering was of pine cones. But I have stones, rocks, shells, glass, feathers, cat whiskers, eggs (broken), dried plants, and a few other miscellaneous things.

    I love to hold them, handle them, study them, admire them. and be grateful for them.

  2. I am a rock gatherer, have been all my life. I like to think about how they were made, and the fact that each one is a rock in itself, even though it's also been part of a greater rock in another time and place.

  3. hmmmm. am i a gatherer? no one thing in particular comes to mind, however, i do have around my house a feather, a few shells, rocks, a piece of moss, a little bit of sand...each holding a special memory or place in time for me. so, i guess for me, they are the "memory markers" and yes i would say that each of them have a bit of "God's call" in them.

    i love the feel of this post. it is like a gathering all in itself. i recently read that sea glass is the rare beautiful thing that comes from man tossing something disposable out into nature. check out the wikipedia piece on sea glass. i think you would enjoy it.

    happy beach combing!!! xoxooxoxo

  4. Lisa - love your list, I don't have any cat whiskers or broken eggs in my collection, those might come under my eccentric gathering list::)) Love it!

    Wren - collecting rocks and thinking about the greater rock of which they once were - there's a post in that isn't there? I just bought a book on Sand - that'll blow your mind if you ever see it - seeing what sand "really" is is fascinating!!

    Lucy - oh, I would classify you as a gatherer - just naming those few lovely treasures that you possess and what calls were present in those finds - oh, yeah, you're a gatherer - perhaps that should be a classified discriminating gatherer:)

    Thanks to all for your posts. May our gatherings be blessed in every way!