On the beach, I found some things that have been lying around for a long, long time.
This tree, for example, has been clinging to life for decades, possibly waiting to change into a lizard and join its friend farther up the beach. Something happened to the tree, perhaps as it fell over with its roots still in the ground. Maybe at that time it was much smaller and the huge boulder injured it, or prevented it from growing straight.
This may have been when the gnarly knot that we call a burl was formed. These twisted lumps have an interesting grain, and markings that make them special. Artists love to take burls to their woodworking shops to make clocks and coffee tables out of the slices they can cut from the burl.
Just look at the size of this burl. I’m sure the rock had something to do with its formation over many years.
Under this tree, the sandy soil contains countless clamshells. The shells are not in all parts of the higher beach, making me wonder why they are all together in one place.
One guess is that it might have been a midden – a place where early peoples camped and ate clams, leaving the shells in their “dining room.”
I found a similar midden in Baja California, where the native people from decades gone by brought their shellfish from the beach to a small cave where they ate the seafood and left the shells behind.
Here is another example of the parts of the beach with and without shells, higher up on the bank.
There could be other possible explanations, but for now, I like to think it was a midden – the lunch table where no one cleared away the dishes.