Returning Tide Style
Our family has a summer cottage at Higgins Beach in Scarborough Maine. Four generations of our family have returned to the beach for nearly 100 years. Each year in June I prep the land and cottage for summer. I work hard. I work steady until the tide enters the tidal creek where our cottage is located, and then I sit and watch. It doesn’t matter what time of day the tide comes in, its arrival is a matter of importance I never tire of. There is something so compelling about the rising tide…the certainty, the predictability, its strength, the moon is pushing pulling the water to shore and although I can’t see the invisible force its power is obvious. I love to watch this surge of water that returns to flood the land twice a day. Water as it flows in and particularly around the edges of docks, creates flow lines. I see the flow lines in these earrings, which we call the Returning Tide.
Garden of Eden Green Garnet is found in east Africa on the border between Tanzania and Kenya. Also called Tsavorite, it is a bright, lively green gem, a color so rich, emerald could only dream of being so good. There’s an intensity, a sharpness a truth of color that speaks to any lover of green.
I’ve been to the “Garden of Eden.” Never saw anything like it before or since: the sounds, sights, smells. It was rich. I slowed enough so that the memories are still vivid, years later.
I stayed in a cabin with a thatched roof 800 feet away from Eden. The cabin was on a hill, below a wire fence that separated the Garden of Eden and the rain forest from our village. In our village the food was good; the land was lush, and the company a delight.
It rained a lot, seemed like every 15 minutes to half hour torrential rains, buckets and fire hoses of rain came down. The walking paths had thatched roofs. We stayed dry and on the 4th day I accepted the invitation to go up to the Garden of Eden.
As I recall, there were six of us and our guide. The field, leading up to the wire fence was dry with long yellow grasses and gray boulders. As we got closer to Eden, the trees became taller and there was the scent, an earthy scent. The field ended and a two tier barbed wire fence ran along the edge of Eden. We waited as our guide untied the wires and a tic-tac-toe grid of gray weathered logs was hinged back. The fence section opened and we walked in.
As we stepped in, the light changed. Long shafts of light filtered through 3, 4, 5 stories of tall trees. The air was dripping, water droplets fell from stories above. The air was moist, humid, warm. On the ground, wet from above, green plants grew at the base of trees, shiny green, wet shiny green everywhere.
We entered Eden and only went 100 – 200 feet in following a log path of thin cut circles. Our guide said, “Stay on the path and don’t touch anything as much as you might be tempted, as beautiful as the flower might be, as cute as the frog might look, color often speaks danger.” He lifted a fern and a construction-worker’s-vest-yellow frog sat on the flared tree root. Our guide said something about poison darts.
Our visit did not last long enough, an hour perhaps. I spent another three days at the edge of the Garden of Eden. I never went back. The sights and sounds of the village, the food, and torchlight suppers kept me down by the river where we gathered to write and talk. I’d never experienced anything like Eden, this welcome from the earth and trees and the love of the native people of this land call to me even now, twenty years later. Land deeply felt, touches us in ways for which words often can’t possibly begin to describe.
A Lasting Impression
I will admit that on my way home to America, once I was alone at the airport, I choked up, and for months afterward if anyone asked me about it or asked if I had been on any interesting trips, I couldn’t speak the country’s name. A Garden of Eden experience touches people that way.
The biblical Garden of Eden is somewhere around 35° east. My Eden was in the west. My people, your people, 100,000 years ago walked the paths of this eastern Eden as they departed Africa, saw things, knew things, felt things and I’m sure there were tears. Land deeply felt, touches us in ways for which words often can’t possibly begin to describe.
Tsavorite – Garden of Eden Green Garnet
We’ve gone to East Africa to the world’s greatest green garnet mines, a small geographic area just north of Mt Kilimanjaro, on the border between Tanzania and Kenya. Mt. Kilimanjaro is Africa’s tallest mountain at 19,000+ feet. Snow capped with glaciers, remarkably, just a few hundred miles from the equator.
About the Trade Wind Collection:
Where does inspiration come from? Where do the creative sparks for design begin? For Cross’ new Trade Wind Jewelry Collection, we find ourselves drawn into the story of Captain John Henry Drew, from Gardiner, Maine. Born in 1834, he grew up the son of a Ship’s Carver, and went to sea at the age of 15, eventually becoming Captain of a series of clipper ships, and traveling from New York to China and back home, when that voyage took more than seventeen months.
Instead of carving or knotting or other hobbies that were characteristic of sailors, this mostly self-educated man read books, memorized details from newspapers, and wrote about his journey—his literal and his inner journey. His hand-written and personally illustrated journals tell us of his longing for Maine, for his family, and for “making something of himself”. He is very much like you and me, and it makes his story that much more compelling. He savors apples from home, as tasting better than apples from anywhere else. He imagines the scene he might see looking in the window at home, where his family sits, and he chastises himself for not getting more done at home when he was there.
The jewelry in our Trade Wind Collection is made by his great-great-great grandson, Keith. This young man went to sea as well, at age 18. As part of his service to the US Navy, his travels took him to many of the same places his great-great-great grandfather’s clipper ships visited. Keith also had a hobby unconventional for sailors— he had a fascination for gems and he studied gemology. He studied so that when his service was completed, he could become a jeweler. As Keith traveled the world, he collected exquisite gems, and after leaving the service and returning home, he mastered the art of fine jewelry making.
It is now decades later. We met Keith for the first time in March, 2014. We were impressed with his jewelry, and as we talked further, discovered he had a clipper ship sea captain ancestor and became intrigued with the parallels of his journey in life with that of his sea captain forebear.
The parallels in the two stories are expressed in the jewelry itself—the exotic colors, the flow of the designs, the attention to detail which is something passed down in this family—whether it is to protect the ship, its cargo and its crew, or to create a design that will last and protect its valuable gems, giving the wearer the same pleasure we experience when a ship at full sail goes by. You can’t help but stop and exclaim, “Isn’t that beautiful?”
We were hooked by this story, and by the jewelry. We think you will be too. In fact, we’re posting pages from Captain Drew’s journals from the Voyage of the Franklin in 1868. Take a few minutes to join in the journey, and think of those you love most, and rejoice if they are right there with you.
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And on all Christmas purchases, returns and exchanges are accepted through January 25th.