I didn't realize what a large impact Sicily's garbage situation had on my children until our trip to Jacksonville Beach last summer. On our first morning on the beach, the kids found one plastic water bottle. That bottle led to quite a bit of bewilderment and frustration because they were unable to find any other bottles or left over containers. Camille turned to me and quickly announced, "This beach isn't any good". Yes, that's right. My children have come to depend upon a certain level of debris to consider it a worthy beach.
We used to lug big bags full of buckets, shovels, and sand toys with us on beach trips, but since moving to Sicily that's no longer necessary. A big part of the winter/early spring beach experience is focused on collecting, assembling, re-imagining, and building new worlds with beach discoveries. The water is too cold to be tempting, but perhaps even more importantly the storms drag in dramatic amounts of stuff. A part of me grapples with this whole "trashy" situation (never imagined I would find myself telling my kids not to pick up hyperdermic needles on a beach). Beautiful beaches cluttered with mounds of trash is a sad very thing, but watching my kids at play shifts the perspective a bit. To them it is endless hours of possibilities and unlimited treasures to be discovered.
Our closest beach continues to be a favorite destination, especially with the recent discovery of an old boat. It is such a fabulous old hull of a boat that we seriously contemplated trying to move it to a friend's yard for further pirate play.
But kids aren't the only ones inspired by discarded objects. Some very creative artists including my mom, Grandma Prisbey, Shawn Major, Rammellzee also see the merits of turning trash into treasures. And what about this exhibit at the San Diego Children's Museum, that would have been a fun one to see, but for now we will just keep enjoying our Sicilian beaches with all of the various treasures they have to offer.