pic of the week

Weekly photo blog


i was told at some point very convincingly that i should not take pebbles from the beaches because if everyone did that it would contribute to erosion. each time i’ve been to a shingle beach since i’m confused about that: there seems to be such an abundance of stones, pebbles, shingles, grid, sand and each new high tide brings new ones so that the idea of erosion by collectors seems a bit far-fetched.

so i make a kind of compromise with myself and set a daily pebble allowance of: one. max.

that doesn’t stop me from constantly scanning the ground in front of me as i walk down a beach, the gatherer ancestors crying out loud in my ears (did you know that at some point in the African history cowry shells were the main currency – people with access to a beach must have felt blessed and probably developed obsessive tendencies unless they understood the meaning of enough?).

when i was on the jurassic coast a couple of weeks ago i was very content with the richness of pebbles there – especially when i discovered the beauty of creating beachscapes (see previous post from 24 may) and the joy of looking for round pebbles with a thin red line. on my last day at the small stretch of coast in beer i didn’t look for anything anymore, i had just come down to the beach to say good bye to the sea and all of a sudden saw something very different lying next to my foot. it looked like a fossil but i don’t understand a thing about them so hadn’t paid any heed to finding them – but here it was. beautiful, ancient and unknown. it took me until last week to try and find out what it actually was and i came across the Natural History Museum’s ‘Identification and Advisory Services’. i sent them a photo of my foundling and described it’s size and where i had found it, and within two days received a very friendly email explaining that i had found a fossil sea urchin that’s slightly irregularly heart shaped, a sign that it’s from the Jurassic Period from 180 million years ago.

i’m still absolutely stunned by it and not sure what i find more extraordinary: that i who doesn’t know a thing about fossils found one just when i was absolutely not looking for anything? that this apricot-sized piece of beauty is about 180 million years old, a time-span so large that it doesn’t really make sense to me? or that the Natural History Museum has such a service with such friendly people who are so enthusiastic about people’s queries that they send lots of background information?!?

Sea Urchin


The Author

Writer, Photographer, Craftivist, Facilitator, Founding Director of deep:black. Passionate about learning & discovery. "Immer noch offen"