High Tide and Stones


High tide changes the beach landscape. If it’s a sandy coast, like Ponta do Ouro is, the transformation can be drastic. On the 14th and 15th, precisely a week ago, Ponta’s impressive stretch of sand was reduced to almost nothing.


On the other hand, marine life vestiges were scattered all long several tidal lines. I spent a few daily minutes collecting little things for little reasons. Shells attracted my attention because of their colorfulness against the pale tone of the sand. Coral flowers (coral algae, as my expert friend MJ says) and sponges seem always more alive than the rest of the pack. Stones are wonderful objects to study. At first I thought the high tide had brought with it small round river stones. But then, during the collecting process, I concluded that those stones are petrified sand. Here you can observe three phases of stone formation from beach sand: the left ones are easily breakable, but at the same time perfectly individualized as stones; the middle one is very similar to the previous ones but cannot be broken, at least with naked hands; the last group is composed of rough, smaller stones, completely formed, whose origin is clearly sand. A long, patient process I was glad to witness. My interest in sand has greatly increased since I learned that my name means a color that is nothing else but the color of sand.


I also collected coral stones. I photographed the process from coral (left) to what looks to me coral smooth stone (right), though my coral researcher friend pointed out to me that coral usually degrades into sand. Even recognizing these presumably coral stones are more sophisticated in terms of final result (color, shine and softness), I’ll only treasure the heart shaped one (sand stone with a touch of coral) and this this sand stone to wear as a pendent. They’ll remind me that sand can become hard stone, that time and nature remarkably and inexorably change things. They are as precious to me as the costly, blindingly shining stones.


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