Treasures in my Hand This Week

First, there was a piece of seaweed clinging to a rock, looking to me exactly like a bonsai tree when I picked it up from the shore yesterday morning. Its miniature size, and tenacity, delighted me.

Later on I found a sand dollar, entirely whole, which is not common for me to find. Its width is about four inches across. But when I brought them home with assorted whelks and conch shells, they made a terrific stink. I will have to put them back into the sea today, temporal creatures that they are, but I enjoyed them while I held them.

Last night I finished this, an utter masterpiece of a book, which is exactly how I hope to begin each year’s reading. Arcadia Books had sent it to me years ago, yet I foolishly kept it on the shelf until this month.

As with all books which I love deeply, I am unable to write about it as Scott of seraillon has done. (You will not find a review of my most treasured books here, only a mention from time to time, as I am afraid I will ruin them by my shoddy analyses.) I cannot pretend that my thoughts will illuminate the author’s properly, nor that I can convey the power of those incredible books. They reside in my heart silently, but ever present.

All I can say is that for me, They Were Counted is one of those treasures.

32 thoughts on “Treasures in my Hand This Week”

    1. So glad to have that information, Linda. I do not have bleach here, nor do I wish to buy it on vacation, but I will carefully carry that sand dollar home to preserve. It is already much whiter after washing it repeatedly as suggested. Thanks for the advice!

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    1. We are here in southern Florida, off the Gulf of Mexico, in Naples. It is so beautiful! But, one funny thing is that the people on the beach are in parkas, while this Chicago girl is in the water. To my husband and I, temperatures in the sixties are warm!

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    1. I think these treasures smell worse than they have in years past, and we’ve wondered if that is due to the red tide which so afflicted Florida this winter. That seaweed/rock, though, indeed.

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  1. It looks as though you are having a wonderful time! I’m envious of your beach finds. I love the little rock with the seaweed clinging to it. I thought it looked a bit like coral. And to find a sand dollar completely intact is a rare find for me, as well. I have walked these Oregon beaches many times, spotting dozens upon dozens of these gems, only to discover they are halves or quarters, but never a full piece. Lucky you!

    The book sounds intriguing. Are you planning to read the other two in the trilogy?

    Safe travels when you return.

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    1. Lesley, it has been such a wonderful respite to be here for a whole month! I treasure every day with my parents, and the days my husband has been able to get away from work to fly down. I thought that seaweed might have been coral too, but it is quite soft and bendable and plant-like. My father says it is seaweed, so it must be. 😉

      I would love to see what it is that you collect on the Oregon shores…is it rocky? I remember being so surprised how the east coast beaches (opposite, of course, from yours) were so very different from the southern beaches I have been accustomed to. Italian beaches are often quite rocky, but that didn’t bother the people from throwing down their towels and lying on them anyway. I guess we are all just glad to be by the sea.

      I am planning on reading the rest of the trilogy, but not any time soon. I must address my Japanese Literature Challenge list first, as the “hostess”, and then in March I am reading for Boekenweek: a literature event celebrated in Belgium and the Netherlands from March 23-31. My passion for translated literature has become quite insatiable, which is exciting in some ways, but makes me feel separated from old blogging friends in others. Xo

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    1. Actually, winter is my very favorite season. Few people in Chicago, Illinois can understand that, but I so love the white crystalline snow, the blue skies and ice-covered branches. I love “permission” to sit under a blanket, with cocoa after a walk, and a book.

      But, you’re right about the lovely quality of the blue skies here, too.

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      1. I love the idea of that kind of snow – as long as I can just sit inside and look out onto it. Its when you have to do practical things involving actually going out in it, that my enthusiasm wanes…..

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        1. Yes. I think there’s also the matter of what one becomes accustomed to. I have always lived in snow, being born at the end of January I feel it welcomed me. Of course, many (most) people do not embrace it like I do. Be safe and warm where you are, dear Karen.

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  2. Thank you for sharing – I also love that “tree” at the top – is it really seaweed? It does look coral-like. At least you have some great pictures and memories, even if you already tossed the original treasures.

    One more book for me to look into! Your example of feeding your soul through literature is more important than the specific books, I think, and that comes through clearly, without an actual review. But, it’s helpful to point us to someone whose review you liked.

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    1. Actually, as I replied to Shoreacres, I will be taking the sand dollar home after all, and the seaweed/rock is in the yard. I had to show my husband when he came down as he was intrigued by the picture I sent him as well.

      As for They Were Counted, it only fed my soul because I felt so connected to it. I would not call it a spiritual book, other than that it shows what happens when we let our sinful natures take control. But, the characters were so real, and so special, to me. I felt them in heart. I guess literature feeds my soul in a secular way, so to speak, as it can make me feel less alone. I’m glad you can sense how special it is to me without a specific review. Xo

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  3. M, that seaweed/rock was beautiful! Looks like you are having a wonderful time. I’m so happy you shared with us. I’ve never heard of that book, so of course I’m jotting the title down. As for my reading, thanks to your JLC12 I am diving into all things Japanese. Just finished reading a short story of Murakami’s on the New Yorker and am in the middle of a short story by Yoko Ogawa that I am just LOVING. Keep sharing with us, M. xo

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    1. Nadia, YOU are doing such exciting reading for the JLC12! I can hardly keep the post I plan to publish every Sunday up to date between you and Mel. But, that’s a good thing. You show me all kinds of books and stories I would not have found myself. I have Cream by Murakami on my kindle, too, and I also so enjoy Yoko Ogawa. Thanks for the enriching reading you give us all. Xo

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  4. I loved that Miklos Banffy trilogy too, a sweeping epic of days at the raced and nights at the casino. You have so much to look forward to in the other two volumes. Enjoy!

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    1. I can’t wait to read the other two volumes! I first heard about it from Scott of seraillon, and then I began seeing it spoken of from so many bloggers I respect and admire. (You.)

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    1. I hope you find it as good as I do; all I can say is that I felt a very powerful connection to the two main characters. Also, even though it was set in the 1920’s, there are clear correlations to the same issues we feel today.

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    1. We came back one day after the Polar Vortex, the only flight which left Naples for Chicago that day. Some people had been waiting in Ft. Meyers for three days to get out! The cold never bothers me (I must have quite thick blood!), but I was glad to arrive safely. 😊

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    1. Imagine noticing my gravatar photo which I just changed yesterday; every time I look at myself, with my hair grown out to its natural color, I am startled. “Who is that?,” I think. It is new for me.

      The Gulf is so lovely! It must be nice to be so close to the sea, although how you manage southern Florida in summer is beyond me. I’m not terribly fond of humidity.😉

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  5. After living here for 44 years one gets used to it I suppose, except for my wife, she likes it cold! I love the sweltering hot and humid weather. I like to sweat and live outside as much as possible. You should put your new photo on your about page and leave the old one too as a comparison. You still look the same.

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