Monday, March 21, 2011

Lights Will Guide You Home

... and I will try to fix you.

If you know me, you know I'm a fiend for storms. It happened when we were in Washington for Mark's brother's funeral so missed the tsunami. Yes, I'm a little disappointed but, unlike the fools seen walking on the beach as the reporters stood above them speaking of impending coastal doom, I would NOT have been on the sand. I would, however, have been on a precipice watching my world dance the Tsunami Surge. Long after we returned and the surge had come and gone, I was skittish to walk on the beach, leery of the aftershocks. but this week, it was time. I took a rare lunch break and headed to the South Spit and found that Eureka was not unscathed in the tidal aftermath.

I'm never more aware of the half-dozen times I enter and leave the Tsunami zone on Hookton Road as I am after a good quake but I was in search of driftwood for a project and the South Spit is the logical destination. I expected that I would collect a pocket-full of beach trash along the way, as always but, as I strolled along, dodging the water (was that a surge?!) and scanning for the perfect driftwood sticks for my project, among the razor-shell clam shells were flashes of color. As I stopped to pick up a bottle here, a plastic cap there, the obligatory pieces of nylon rope, I would also pick up what turned out to be small, colorful shards of plastic. The handful of trash became a pocketful. Became a bag full. The shards of plastic, like cheap imitations of beach glass, were scattered all around, brightly colored pieces of smoothly sanded blue and orange and green. Where did it come from? Was it stirred up out of the gyre? Carried from Hawaii churned inside the wave of the tsunami?
My favorite bit of jetsam? A flashcube. Remember flashcubes? Four flashbulbs mounted in a cube that was used on the Kodak Instamatic cameras from the 70's? This was crazy. How long had that durable little hunk of plastic been floating around? From where had it been flushed? Luckily, I took my big bag to carry wood and ended up filling it nearly halfway with caps, bottles and dozens of shotgun shells; washed down river from a target site perhaps? Has no one heard the term "police your brass"?

This is a beautiful stretch of relatively pristine beach normally carpeted with expanses of driftwood. Who knows where this stuff came from...maybe it actual made it to a recycling bin but blew off the truck, on to the street and into the storm drain, where it floated out to sea and broke into pieces.

It's sad that so many disposables have taken the place of things that would be easily washed or repaired or simply done without. Why can't we be bothered with washing and reusing instead of tossing items in favor of new versions of the same thing. Why don't we fix things instead of throwing them out and replacing them?Well, I fixed something. These lamps have been in the family and not really my style, though some would argue that I have no style. Chinese Ginger Jars (actually from China). Carved wooden bases. A patina that comes enlightening the life of a chain-smoker. Both cords had been repaired long ago in a way that made me nervous. Some may have slated them for the thrift store but these lamps are worth saving. How hard can it be - it always looks so simple when Martha does it? I hit Shafer's for new wire, plugs and sockets. Having them apart allowed me to clean the nicotine from the surfaces hidden nooks then oil the wooden bases before reassembly. Took me longer than it took Martha but, guess what? They work! And maybe they do fit my hippie-chic decor, after all.


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Ginny said...

Interesting post - sad when there is more plastic on the beaches than driftwood and shells. I can only think that if we all collect these bits and bobs before they kill some poor turtle or other sea creature and send the plastic off for recycling then we are helping a little.

Here's what we find on our beaches and other places: - you are welcome to visit ;)

Fred said...

In the news the other day they said flotsam from the Japan earthquake should start showing up on our shores in a couple years.

Maybe you'll be able to find an actual Japanese lamp?

Pearl Maple said...

Great do over for your lamps.

Good post about the plastics that end up in our oceans. A cool find though with the flash cube.