Come down to the sea and take your imagination with you. Never mind the rain and don’t distract yourself with the usual finds of beachcombers: broken lobster traps, lone sandals, bottles, cans and driftwood. Sometimes the stormy seas bring something far more wondrous to our shores.
Of course, it’s not every day you get to see a mermaid. Such enchanting encounters occur so rarely that it’s difficult to know what to do when you do at last catch sight of one on the shore.
You wouldn’t want to get too close. Only half human, the wild part of their nature would likely make them quite skittish and easy to scare back into the water. It’s best to keep a safe distance for both your sakes. After all, mermaids have been known to lure humans unwittingly into the depths of the sea, never to return again. Even Blackbeard the pirate feared their charms and kept his ship away from waters where they had been sighted.
Mermaids likely visited Nova Scotia’s shores long before Europeans settled here. Thrown off course by strong currents during storms, there’s little record of their short stays on our beaches.
They linger only long enough to re-arrange their hair, untangle the seaweed from their tails and sing a haunting song or two before returning to their homes in the deep.
Though this one’s fingers weren’t webbed and she wasn’t sitting on ‘the mermaid stone’ (perhaps the algae made it too slippery this time of year), she was genuinely enchanting.
When will she return? Mermaid visits are as unpredictable as the weather here in Nova Scotia. One can only hope it will be soon.
Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2012
For more on mermaids, see Where Mermaids Arrange their Hair and Calling All Mermaids.
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The mermaid stone hasn’t seen much action these days. With surfers riding the waves in recent years and more dogs running along the beaches, it’s no wonder that mermaids are going elsewhere to gather their thoughts at dawn and dusk.
I, for one, would love to catch a glimpse of a siren arranging her hair while singing a haunting melody. Even one of the mermaids’ legged cousins, the sea nymphs, would be a delight to find strolling along our shores, gathering shells.
- Sadly, rockweed is all that’s covering the mermaid stone these days.
Maybe it’s all the garbage that’s dumped near our shores that’s putting them off. Or perhaps they don’t bother visiting Cow Bay because there are fewer and fewer shells to find here. The ones that do wash up on our beaches are quickly gathered by tourists and local beachcombers like me.
Sea Nymph by William Symonds 1893
We don’t pause to consider that seashells and sea glass are the only adornments mermaids and sea nymphs have available to them when the seaside flowers aren’t in bloom.
There are probably uninhabited islands not far from here where mermaids don’t have to compete with anyone for the treasures that wash ashore. Seals are likely less intimidating than dogs from their point of view as well.
I’m going to start leaving the seashells where I find them on the shore instead of taking them home. If I take anything back from the beach, it will be the garbage I find there. It’s not much, but it’s a first step in attracting these wondrous creatures back to our shores.
I must be a mermaid… I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.
― Anaïs Nin (1903-1977)
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Posted in Flora, Mermaids, Rainbow Haven Beach, Seashore, tagged beach, dawn, dusk, Flowers, fora, hair, imagination, mermaids, ocean, sea, Seashore, stones, sunrise, sunset on July 13, 2009|
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This large, smooth stone near Rainbow Haven Beach is where mermaids sit at dusk and at dawn. And what do they do there at the rising and setting of the sun? They arrange flowers in their hair… flowers they’ve found on the beach, growing just at the edge of the high tide line.
These pink-lavender Beach Peas have tendrils that can easily be twirled and fixed into long mermaid hair. Land dwellers may have the wind to be concerned about, but mermaids also have to worry about the currents messing with their hair. It’s not easy to find ornaments that stay in place.
Can’t you just see a pretty mermaid placing one of these pink and white Morning Glories above one of her ears as she sits on the stone at dawn. These wild blooms are colorful enough to look striking both above and under the water.
Jacques Cousteau believed that Manatees were what sailors really saw when they thought they were seeing mermaids. It’s sad that scientists often try to make up in research for what they sometimes lack in imagination.
There are thousands of stones on shores around the world, where mermaids fix their hair and look out to sea as they plan or reflect on the day. Perhaps there’s one such stone near you.
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