Sometime yesterday there was a thump: LucyFur had decided to do a little rearranging of Alice's desktop, and the bowl of stones and shells went flying. Luckily no damage was done ... but I imagine Alice must have thought that this presented a golden opportunity to wash the dust off these little geological tokens. When I came in from a trip to Whole Foods, there they all were, lined up drying on the stove top. It's a curious array, to me, of meaningfulness (for they must all have had an origin, been picked up from beach or mountainside - quite likely I was there for the gathering of some of them), and objects that bear, in fact, no memorialising function to me whatsoever. I suspect that this would have been true even of pebbles that I'd gathered myself - pocketing them thinking that I'd remember a particularly gorgeous day, and then completely forgetting where they came from. I once visited a colleague in Berlin, and he and his partner had little heaps of sand or soil and pebbles neatly set out in different parts of their living room, each of them labelled with the place that they'd come from, whether the Australian outback or a British stream bed - which struck me at the time, and does still, as requiring not just organization and discipline, but tolerance for very heavy luggage.