Making marks

by | Jan 2, 2013 | Uncategorized | 11 comments

 Making a mark. It’s such a basic urge, and when I’m at the beach, I can’t resist. The sand is so yummy to carve in, and there are plenty of sharp shells around to make the perfect markers.

 Mira can’t resist either. At four and a half, she’s discovering the power of inscription. ‘These are bird footprints,’ she tells me,

 and I muse on how our ancestors made their marks on cave walls with pieces of charcoal or red ochre, marks not so very different from these bird footprints,

 made with such total absorption, in magical inner space.

 The sand yields so easily to a little hand. When the Sumerians invented writing, thousands of years ago, they carved marks just like this.

The afternoon slips by as we play under the tangle of pohutukawa branches. . .

We leave a necklace for a mermaid. She will swim out of the sea at dusk and pick it up, and in the morning it will be gone. As will our marks.


  1. Max

    How beautiful, a necklace for a mermaid (and no pink plastic in sight!). Happy new year to you lovely lady x

  2. Penny O'Neill

    It is so refreshing to see a youngster using her imagination, Juliet. Mira is always, it seems, exploring and learning at your elbow. Happy New Year!

  3. juliet

    * Max, this one is all about free craft materials! Thank you for your appreciation.

    * Penny, lovely to see you back. These are special times that I will always remember. Thank you.

  4. Diana Drent

    I can’t resist it to, making marks when I’m at the beach. Carving names,hearts,texts together with Elizabeth, my daughter.

  5. juliet

    What a nice thought, to imagine you doing the same as me, but on the other side of the world.

    Thank you Diana.

  6. Hotly Spiced

    The difference in colour between Australian sand and NZ sand is very contrasting. I was at the beach yesterday and my 7-yr old was making shapes in teh sand too xx

  7. juliet

    Hi Charlie, yes we have black sand on the west coast and white on the east, but the inner harbour beaches are browner. Nice to think of you and your son making sand marks across the Tasman.

  8. Joan

    Such a lovely post and so West Coast NZ, close to my child heart. happy New Year Juiet. I’ve not done much posting of late. Busy walking walking in readiness for Spain.

  9. juliet

    * Joan, lovely to see you here again. You must be preparing to walk the Camino? What adventures you are having. I can imagine you and V-S playing on the beach like this. Thank you.

  10. Lynley

    I must remember mermaid’s necklaces for future sand scribing.

    Sand is such a wonderfully accepting medium for all ages, but especially small people who can achieve such exciting results.

  11. juliet

    Lynley, sand is so easy to work with. It yields beautifully. Mira has a delightful book about a mermaid who beach combs and then disappears at nightfall.
    Thank you.


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