Stones always look more beautiful on the beach, still wet from the sea water that coats their surface to reveal hidden colours only accessible with its help. I can’t count how many stones I’ve collected from beaches. While sitting or walking. Cold or warm. Talking or silent. Tired, happy or bored.
There is always an element of disappointment with this stone collecting habit. A stone jumps out from all the rest, promising to remind you of a moment - to let you steal a piece of the day. However they never look quite as entrancing again.
It would be a cruel trick to play on nature to attempt to take a piece of time. Physics has its ways of holding the past in the past, and no memory is perfectly whole. Memory eventually fades and turns slowly into a feeling. All you can do is pick the stones up and feel their lightness. Their smoothness. This is where the beach is hiding, along with the memory of the entire world, which reveals its presence only in the smoothness of the stone.
Despite the disinterest in their physical appearance now, it's not possible to part with them. They mostly blur into one collective memory - not individual ones they are meant to represent. The beach is cold, warm, blissful, miserable, tiring, and happy. Not an occasion, not many beaches, but a single place that holds a shared identity, the collection of stones have put it there.