Haunting Wails and the Seashell

Multi-coloured seashells lined the shelf in Sophie’s spare room. They had always fascinated her nine-year-old granddaughter, Emma. Each shell had its own special story. Today, Emma had asked to hear about the big shiny spotted one, which twisted and curled to a little holey point.

Emma carefully lifted the shell from the shelf and sat on the bed as Sophie entered from the kitchen, wiping her wet hands on her apron. She smiled down at her granddaughter holding the shell gently in her lap. ‘I suppose you want to know about this very special seashell.’

‘Where did you find it, Nanna? It’s so pretty.’

‘It is pretty—as pretty as the beach I found it on. But this shell has a sad story to tell. The memory will live forever in here.’ Sophie placed her hand over her heart before continuing.

‘Poppa and I were visiting a place far from here on the west coast for a holiday back in 1992. It was our holiday of a lifetime—just after your mother finished college. It was a summer. We were staying at a resort village and Poppa and I spent the evenings walking along the cooling sand. On the third evening there was a full moon and we were about to head back up the beach to our bungalow when we heard a pitiful moaning. It seemed like it was coming from the ocean. The sound lingered like a haunting wail that echoed. I have to admit, I was afraid. I’m not one to believe in ghosts, but that night I would have believed anything.’

‘Oh, Nanna, that must have been soooo scary. What did you and Poppa do? What was it?’

Sophie traced the contour of the twisted shell to the point, holding her finger in mid-air for a moment before continuing. ‘Well at first we just stood there trying to work out what it was. Some of the resort staff came running down onto the beach yelling, ‘Save them! Save them!’ It was then that we realized there were black mounds rolling in the surf. They looked like huge boulders. Some were closer to us on the wet sand; water lapping around them from the incoming tide. Some of the people started running into the waves. Poppa grabbed my hand. The boulders were actually whales. Some had already beached themselves—others splashed about a little offshore where waves crashed around them.’

Tears ran down her cheeks as she recalled the events. ‘People were trying to persuade them back by yelling at them. Others just stood, staring, as one by one they beached themselves. It was an awful sight.’

‘Did they go back into the water?’ Emma asked, her eyes reflecting her anguish.

‘Unfortunately, most of them didn’t. I guess its part of nature. We never did find out why those whales beached themselves. We tried to help by keeping the whales wet. We even tried to encourage them back into the water.’ Sophie shook her head. ‘Four days later the beach was covered in dead and dying whales—fifteen in all. I remember I sat in the shallow water beside a mother and her calf and wept for them. Poppa and I took turns taking short naps and taking time out for meals provided by the resort’s kitchen. We continued our vigil for four days—the remainder of our holiday. We’ve always considered it a small sacrifice. We managed to get three whales back out into deeper water—only three, but we were relieved we were able to help in a small way.’

‘Oh, Nanna, this is the saddest story of all. But, where did you find the shell?’

Sophie picked up the shell and blew into the small hole at the point. It made a howling sound, like the wind. She handed it back to Emma so she could have a blow, and continued her story.

‘About mid-morning on the last day, men with hoists came and loaded the dead whales onto the back of trucks to take them away—for burial. I suppose we were too exhausted to ask where. When they lifted the calf beside me, I noticed something lodged in the wet sand. Poppa used his hands to dig it out and held it up to look at it more closely. One of the helpers from the night before took it from Poppa’s hands and washed it in the seawater. He lifted it to his lips and blew it, long and loud. It sounded almost like the mournful cry we had heard the evening before. The man handed it to me and walked away, back up the beach to the resort where he worked. I’ll never forget those whales—or the beach.’

Emma blew into the shell. The haunting wail lingered like the memories on the shelf. Sophie sat beside her in silence for a few minutes.  Emma traced her finger around the shell before placing it into Sophie’s hand. She too, traced her finger to the point then placed it back in its place on the shelf.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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Children’s Corner at Riverside Peace

Front Garden

Today we took advantage of the sun and no wind to mulch the front garden ready for Spring.

I love the blues we chose when we had the house painted back in December after we moved in.

Bulbs are coming up in the terracotta pots.

Seedlings I planted a few months ago are doing well.

The Freesias are in bloom too.

We also mulched the garden along the drive and planted white and purple alyssum seedlings.

Out of the Shadows – Jenna’s Secret (the book)

🦋  Out of the Shadows – Jenna’s Secret

JennaFinalFrontCoverIs the story of a girl who, at the brink of going too far, learns from her mistakes and from witnessing the devastating effects to those who crossed the line.

Note: Out of the Shadows – Jenna’s Secret was first published in 2009 and reprinted in 2018 with out-dated language revised for the modern teen reader.

The original cover design by Debbie Sickler, USA has been given a brighter appearance.

The back cover still exhibits a note about the author Chrissy Siggee and an update review by original reviewer Tammy Johnson, a pastor’s wife and teacher from the Northern U.S.

Tammy says: I couldn’t be happier with the latest overall presentation.

To order click the title above at the right of the butterfly. Follow the prompts to order. PayPal will convert the British pounds to your country’s currency.

More activity in the yard.

With the pebbles in place the top soil for the new turf came next. The large pots were re-positioned. Windmill and gonna replaced.

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Top soiled leveled.

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The yard slowly transformed.

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A few more ornaments appeared.

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The turf arrived mid afternoon.IMG_4022

Looking good.

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Tomorrow we’ll finished trimming and tidying up.

Next weekend the rear storm water pit will be filled with gravel then topped with matching pebbles before the above ground vegetable gardens plots can begin.

Archived in: I’m in the Garden by Chrissy for Riverside Peace

Let the work begin!

Since early yesterday morning the back yard has been turned into a huge construction site. 20200816_102736

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This corner almost didn’t survive either.

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Where there was mush a drain or ag drain appeared.

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Wheelbarrow loads of sand managed to soak up some of the water so the workers could continue.

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and I was surprised when this small paved footpath emerged.

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I think I have seen the last of the drainage problem here.

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This next photo was taken at dusk yesterday.

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This morning the yard began to transform.

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Defined edges began to emerge.

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River pebbles were carted from the trailer in wheelbarrows.

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Permanent pavers for the large pots and the garden seat were set in place.

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Tomorrow…top soil and turf will arrive to complete the job.

I will post more photos as soon as I can.

I can’t believe it’s almost completed.

I’m in the Garden by Chrissy for Riverside Peace

Winter blues and moods.

There hasn’t been much work done in the garden since the rains came and winter cast it’s shadow over the backyard. Yes, it’s starting to look like a garden but what lies beneath is a soggy mess.
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The deciduous potted trees and plants are doing there job allowing the strip of sunshine through to the veggies around mid morning.  I think most of the plants and shrubs are located somewhat in the best positions for future seasons but at least pots can be relocated if needed.

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The long timbered area at the back is a council requirement for rain water overflow. However with no drainage or a good foundation under the lawn, the sump only drains the water away from the inside. Any excess water builds up under the turf and during and after heavy rains, well you can see the water line where the backyard floods.

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The only things immediately under the turf are mud and pipes. No preparation was done before turf was placed straight over the top. Norm and I have started on the worst areas and just placed pavers around so I don’t sink ankle deep in mud.

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We have been spending warmer days in the under cover areas where we’re able to create a restful oasis or two.

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We have plans for a complete removal of current turf to install a proper foundation of ag pipes, gravel and soil to raise the whole yard with gentle slopes toward new drainage along the rear. THEN, we can finished the main garden area.

 

 

I’m in the Garden by Chrissy for Riverside Peace

 

Special Places and Great Memories #7

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With granddaughter at Tin City –
Stockton Beach New South Wales, Australia 2019

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Road to Dubbo – Central West New South Wales, Australia 2018

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Orange – Central West New South Wales, Australia 2018

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Bago Maze – Bago Mid North Coast New South Wales,  2018

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Hill Top Tulip Farm – Sutton Forrest South West New South Wales – 2019

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Floriade – Canberra Australian Capital Territory, Australia 2019

Photography by Norm and Chrissy for Riverside Peace