Would I ever have thought that a washed up starfish would make me think of Christmas? But here I am, living in a coastal city in the northeast of China, it's December, and I'm seeing stars.
When we walk home in the mornings, we peer over the wooden railings at the water softly washing away the contents of the silty shore, or creeping slowly up it's edge-- depending on whether the tide is coming or going. At that time of the morning, the sun is usually low over the water, starting it's climb upward, and the colors and bend of the light are usually the loveliest they will be all day. The gritty air we complain of makes it bleed red and orange, or a luminous gold in a muted sea of faded purple and grey.
Often there are a few women strewn here or there atop the jutting rocks, belting their lungs out in rhythmic exercises that release all the hot air and bad energy. A bag of seaweed will sit safely from the water's edge, it's owner bent over, combing the rocks and sand for choice bits, dangling them up in the sunlight, picking unwanted strands or particles from their shiny skins.
And today, as we gazed down below, we saw one large flat rock, sparkling with dozens of starfish, like jewels spilled haphazardly in the sun. Someone had clearly gathered them and laid them out to dry. Later in the morning I found several more piles in various locations along the road. Was there a sudden deposit of these amber toned beauties in the night? Is this the season for starfish gathering? Do they know it's Christmas?
My son has been asking for a star to top our tree. Maybe this is the perfect blend for our seaside holiday.
Squid for Christmas dinner? Anyone?