Collecting driftwood on the beach
Too large to drag home
Mother Nature's Artwork
I admit it. I live in Hawaii and I am constantly scanningfor new driftwood. I will be walking along the beach or driving near the shoreline, and come upon a must-have piece of stylized wood. My husband now knows that he better stop when I mention driftwood. No person could have created it, but the ocean waves and tides did. I feel like it is a gift just waiting to be discovered and appreciated.
My townhouse has a tiny front yard in which I plant colorful flowers, ferns, and aloe. When we first moved in, it didn't look complete until one day while I was walking along the North Shore near where we live, I spotted some incredible pieces of driftwood. Lucky I had my husband and grandson with me. Maybe it was not so lucky for them, but we each brought home a couple of these priceless treasures.
Some of the pieces of driftwood I spot are much too large to drag home, so instead I fill my yearning by photographing them. I have noticed that several other photographers share their lucky captures with the cyberspace community in the form of wallpaper.
Other uses of driftwood include floral decorations, driftwood furniture, lamps, mirrors, picture frames, or just by placing a unique driftwood art piece on a shelf. Another favorite use is in aquariums, although I understand it takes some cleaning and curing to make sure it does not dirty the fish tank.
I admire artists who take driftwood and then use their insight to create their own masterpiece. Some who are talented in wood burning burn the image of a fish, starfish or tropical flower right into the wood. I have even seen an image of a lady burned into one that was beautiful.
I have tried to use some driftwood I found that still had some creatures inside. I have found that it is best to wash it off and then dry it for several days in the sun before using it in a floral decoration or putting it on your bookshelf. It may have termites so be sure you check it carefully.
Once in a while I felt a little guilty in taking nature's gifts home, so I wondered if there were laws regarding the use of driftwood found on the beach. I could not find any rules that prohibit the use of driftwood. I suppose the driftwood belongs to who ever owns the beach you are on, so if you don't know, it is better to look elsewhere.
I'm sure some people use driftwood only for making fires, and that is wonderful for those pieces that have not weathered long enough and been transformed into artwork by the waves. But for now, I will continue my hobby of scanning for driftwood.
You can use driftwood in your fish tank or aquarium, but be sure it is cleaned well and dried to get rid of any bacteria or dirt that may hurt the fish.
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