It’s so synchronistic that today, the day when so many people are cleaning up trash on beaches around the world and when I am so wishing I were one of them, two boxes of beach trash have washed ashore in Santa Fe. The boxes of plastic that Don Elwing collected from Kamilo Beach and sent me for the Porous Borders art project just appeared at my door.
I felt as nervous as a bride opening her new chinaware, carefully taking out each piece and admiring it before gently laying it out along my counter.
Fragments of Japanese fishing boxes, remnants of the 2011 tsunami still journeying around the Pacific Gyre five years later. This one belonged to the Shimizu Fisherman Association.
A bottle that has obviously been chewed on by a fish? bird? turtle?
Two tiny flip flops.
A well-worn toy soldier, part of his gun still held faithfully to his shoulder.
The top of a karate competition trophy; the winner has unfortunately lost his head somewhere.
A bottle in the shape of a bear, the same bottles I found in Utila. They are made in Guatemala and distributed in El Salvador as well.
They feel, smell and taste of the ocean. How far they have travelled to finally wind up here in the desert. What stories they could tell. My eyes fill with tears.
Then I found the bag of microplastics.
I had asked Don to send me some for another art project. In Utila, I had to sift pieces out of the sand with a spoon, and I certainly didn’t want to ask him to do that! I had hoped he would send me an envelope full. He sent a gallon bag stuffed to the brim. He obviously didn’t use a spoon to scoop these up - he could have used a shovel.