So I was going through the pictures on my phone, to remind myself (already, yes, needing reminding) of my stops so far along the way. The very next stop I made after Pacifica Beach was Pebble Beach. No, not the golf course, that doesn’t interest me in the slightest. No, I’d just happened to stop at a beach rich with history and loaded with treasure. The sign at the top of the stairs leading down informs visitors that the pebbles constantly deposited on its shore have been worn and polished by the sand and the sea, and to please enjoy, but leave the pebbles for others to enjoy as well. Sure, I can do that, but I’m darn sure going to take some pictures! It wasn’t a very big beach, but the surface was litterally inches thick of tiny smooth perfect pebbles amidst a shoreline of tidepools and kelp. The only other beach-goers were a man and his 2 daughters, and he was pointing out critters in the tidepools. As I wandered by, he turned to me and said, “There’s a starfish here, if you’re interested”. I’ve seen plenty of starfish in my day…in tidepools and deeper water, Carribean and Pacific, large and small; why would I want to see another starfish? Because it’s a STARFISH!!! They’re so frickin cool how could you ever NOT want to see another starfish, sheesh?!? And this one was up there on the cool list. Huge (~8-10″ across), red, half exposed on the rock from the receding tide, and making his way slowly back into the cool water. I squatted down and watched with the fascination of a child. You see, once I’d realized the weather I could expect for the time being was well, not what i’d expected, I’d written off palm trees and tropical marine life from my expectation list. Yet here I was surprised again. Turns out us equator huggers don’t have the market cornered on starfish and the like. Hhmph! Oh, and of course that was the moment, after having snapped several pebble photos, my phone decided to give me the ole ‘low batt’ and not function in camera mode. So just trust me, one cool starfish.
Back to the pebbles. When I picked the photo I liked, I decided to google some quotes or sayings referring to pebbles. I thought one might make a good caption. Instead however, what I found got me thinking about about value and perceived value. Pretty deep for a pebble. So here’s the first on the list that popped up in my search, attributed to a Chinese Proverb: “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without one.” I skimmed past it at first, but kept coming back to it, not because I thought it would make good caption, but because it bothered me. I call bullshit. Yup, I said it. Hooey. Crap. Baloney. Bullshit. Monetarily and litterally, sure, but I’m pretty sure ancient chinese proverbs are rarely intended to be taken literally. My mind immediately leapt to the symbolism of the diamond and the pebble. (Betcha thought this was just going to be a fun little travel blog, huh?…GOTCHA!) A diamond, in it’s natural state-whether flawed or not-can resemble a piece of gravel or quartz that you might kick along the sidewalk. To make it appear what we associate with diamonds, it must be manipulated, cut, altered; made to appear brilliant and visually eyecatching. All in order to appear, to most untrained eyes, very similar to the diamond next to it, and the next one, and so on. A perfect pebble washed upon the shore has been worked upon not by hands or tools, but simply by the environment around it. It has literally rolled with the tides, tossed about, and come out beautiful and unique due to what it has endured by nature. It’s perfection judged so by those that take the time to look at it, really see and appreciate it, not by a measurable scale of values. If you were to hold a handful of diamonds, and were asked what is unique, beautiful and different about each one, I believe you would run out of identifiers fairly quickly. My handful of pebbles here though, given time I could go on and on about their different looks and feels, and what I appreciated about each one.
I am not shiny.
I am a pebble. JUST a pebble.
I am unique and beautiful, just the way I am, to those that take the time to look.