Monday, September 9, 2013

100 years ago: Leave seashells on the seashore

Children who have been at the seaside have been gathering shells on the beach, and boxes full have been taken home. The healthy sunburn will hardly have worn from faces, arms and legs before these shells are forgotten and probably thrown away as useless lumber. In the nursery, in the suburban garden, the whelk or cockle, the dainty razor-shell or pink-tinted bivalve seems to lose its beauty and interest. On the beach, wet by the last tide, polished by the smooth pebbles, it looked so beautiful that the child was forced to pick it up; at home it lacks association, for it needs the weed-covered rocks, the stretch of sand, the gently heaving tide to give it full value. It is so with all the interests of the holidays. The wayside flower, the lovely butterfly, the unusual bird – in their natural surroundings they add interest to our holiday; but as specimens they lack so much that we cease to care for them. The children who pick up, carry home, and then throw away teach us a useful lesson.