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While in Costa Rica, where we stayed in Tamarindo, I saw these astounding and exquisite designs on Tamarindo Beach that looked like they had been carved into the sand by a master artist. But of course, Mother Nature is the ultimate master artist, and her brush was behind them. The texture and consistency of sand, the angle of the beach, the force of the tide, all happen to be just the right conditions combined to allow these patterns to be eroded into the sand each day as the tide recedes. Like a Zen garden, these beautiful creations last only a small and fleeting amount of time before people trample them or the tide comes back in to wash over them. It reminded me of watching the sand carpets being built all Thursday night before being trampled in the Good Friday parades of the Semana Santa celebration in Antigua, Guatemala. 

I got the idea for taking pictures of the sand designs from my mom ... I saw her taking a pic and I thought, what a good idea! So these were just taken with the camera on my cell phone. (Which, BTW, is pretty much the only thing I use the phone for -- a convenient pocket camera. I don't even have a phone plan on it.) So I went out one morning specifically to collect seashells and take pictures of the designs. Other people were watching me as I spent about half an hour with my camera pointed at the ground. Finally, one lady came up and asked what I was taking pictures of. "Are there fish in there?" she asked. Nope, no fish in the sand, haha. But when I pointed out the beautiful patterns, she was stunned. I think a lot of people walk right over them and don't even notice. 

I didn't really know how the pics would turn out until I got home and downloaded them onto the computer. Well, I think they turned out pretty neat. I must say I find them quite fetching. And of course my blog is for sharing whatever I want! So, for lack of a better place to categorize it, I've labeled it a Tuesday Tale. The tale of Shara on the seashore soaking up nature's sandy beauty. Here are a bunch of photos to share with you. When you see the bright white spots, that's the glare of sun on little pockets of water left on the beach.  

These first two have footprints in them, you can get a sense of scale. First my footprint, and in the second one, a doggie's pawprints. 

Pattern in the sand caused by water erosion as the tide recedes. And my footprint. Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica.Pattern in the sand caused by water erosion as the tide recedes. And some dog pawprints. Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica.

I've come to think of these as "sand paintings" because to me (and to most people who have commented on them so far), they look like wispy, contemplative paintings of trees and forests (or maybe celery stalks?). Paintings in a Japanese or Chinese style, whatever that means. I know nothing about art that qualifies me to make that comparison, but I just have images in my mind of "traditional" paintings from these cultures. I envision the artists standing in long silky robes, paint palette in one hand, brush poised above a canvas. Anyhoo ... enjoy these amazing creations of nature.  Erosion patterns left in the sand with the receding tide on Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica. Looks like trees in a forest.Erosion patterns left in the sand with the receding tide on Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica. Looks like trees in a forest.Erosion patterns left in the sand with the receding tide on Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica. Looks like trees in a forest.Erosion patterns left in the sand with the receding tide on Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica. Looks like trees in a forest.Erosion patterns left in the sand with the receding tide on Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica. Looks like trees in a forest.Erosion patterns left in the sand with the receding tide on Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica. Looks like trees in a forest.Erosion patterns left in the sand with the receding tide on Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica. Looks like trees in a forest.Erosion patterns left in the sand with the receding tide on Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica. Looks like trees in a forest.Erosion patterns left in the sand with the receding tide on Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica. Looks like trees in a forest.Erosion patterns left in the sand with the receding tide on Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica. Looks like trees in a forest.Erosion patterns left in the sand with the receding tide on Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica. Looks like trees in a forest.Erosion patterns left in the sand with the receding tide on Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica. Looks like trees in a forest.

These two have a seashell in them. They kind of remind us that these are in the sand and not on a canvas! 

Erosion patterns left in the sand with the receding tide on Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica. Looks like trees in a forest. With a seashell.Erosion patterns left in the sand with the receding tide on Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica. Looks like trees in a forest. With a seashell.

And here is the assortment of seashells I collected (displayed at home on my dining table). The piece in the upper left corner is the shell in the photo above. I think this beach had particularly nice shells. They were in good condition (not chipped or broken), some really lovely colors and textures -- with crisply defined ridges and such. Now they'll just sit in a glass jar for the rest of time, probably, haha. But I don't consider it time wasted collecting them because it's an enjoyable and meditative activity for me. 

Colorful variety of seashells collected at Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica.

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