Years ago we used to go to Florida in March, during what was then spring break. Thanks to a job my brother had at a property on the Gulf coast, we discovered a paradise of an island called Little Gasparilla. This long thin spit of sand was accessible only by water, and had a number of comfortable modest homes and condo rentals. We would spend a week or so on this beautiful island, soaking in the sun, sand and surf, unwinding and unplugging.
One of my favorite past times was to scour the beach for fossilized sharks teeth. I wondered what ancient set of circumstances conspired to deposit so many of these little treasures along this stretch of the Florida “Gold Coast”. Was there some prehistoric shark dentistry establishment located here? Was this a shark boxing club? Did the sharks mistakenly chomp down on rocks thinking they were tasty morsels? The imagination explodes.
Whatever the root cause, the beach was a repository for hundreds of these dark triangular objects. I would spend hours walking along the shore, head down, deep in concentration as I searched the area right where water and sand meet. I was able to focus my gaze in such a way that I could only see these teeth. Other treasures from the sea often went passed over in my singular quest for sharks teeth. Sand dollars, whelks, cowries, tulip shells – all valuable gifts from the sea in their own right – were bypassed in my single-minded pursuit of these ancient bicuspids.
At home we have several jars, filled with the fruits of those labors. They serve as a tangible reminder of the benefits of those past simple sunny days.