Searchers All


The unseasonably warm weather last week (oh, yes,  change is on the wing!) found me looking for shells on the October beach. There were few shells–  the result, I suspect, of offshore dredging.  My friend, an avid shell collector, told me that she was remarking on this the other day when her young grand daughter replied, “But, Grandma, the fun is in looking.

It seems as if humans are always looking for something or other—for shells that will enchant us, for music and books that will transport us, for knowledge, for pleasure or the  jeans that will actually fit—and believe me, I know about that. When I was little, I sought the perfect toy only to discard it for a better toy. Later, like so many of my friends, I kept looking for the fairy tale ending to a perfect love.

Searching still takes up a lot of my time. That’s part of being human, I assured myself as I walked along the beach. The Search continues to be a wonderful adventure. Tireless researchers have sought and found cures for terrible illnesses; curious inventors have given us light and sound and technology through countless hours of seeking. And scientists were always on the lookout for new species.

But sometimes searching drifted into obsession, you could point out. True, there would always be people who tended to be inveterate searchers who drifted from one thing to another, always looking for the perfect ‘fit’ but never finding it. Carried to an extreme, searching could cause us to roam through jobs or relationships, always dreaming  of the next ‘right’ one and never finding the gold at the end of the rainbow.

Oh– a lovely shell!

But look, it is very small…

Best find another.

There are always goal-seekers among us, those intrepid souls who set a goal and pursue it with single minded conviction. Pretty awesome, right?  But here’s the thing—sometimes goal-seekers achieved their brass ring and then right away set off to catch another. Did they ever enjoy what they had worked so hard to attain? I’ve wondered about that.

I myself am a waffler. My searching often takes side-trips because what I am after never stays on a single path. The story I am writing or the art quilt I am constructing would suffer because I find a better idea. The project I am looking for suddenly morphs in a new direction or turn into a dead end, forcing me to seek new routes to my goal. And there are times when I have to stop and consider, because that new and better idea I just discovered meant abandoning so many other ideas, disrupting carefully laid plans…

“Excuse me!”

The dark-haired woman was standing in front of me. She was frowning. “Excuse me,” she repeated, “but have you seen my husband’s sun glasses on your walk?” I regretted that I hadn’t. “I can’t believe it,” she snorted. “This is the second pair he’s lost. He’s as blind as a bat without them. So now he gets this new pair—a really expensive pair— and what does he do? He wears them when he goes looking for shells. Of course the stupid things fall into the water and a wave takes them!”

She walked away muttering, and I watched her go thinking that this really had to be the caveat for all us. While we were out looking for that special  something, we had to be careful that we didn’t lose what’s really important along the way.

The way we travel

Can truly be beautiful…

Should we stop and look?

"Window To the Sea" watercolor

“Window To the Sea” watercolor



About Maureen C. Wartski

I’m Maureen Wartski, writer, artist, wife, mother, grandmother; you can see that I have many of the bases covered. I was born in Ashiya, Japan, a (then) small town which lay cradled between sea and mountains. In the evenings, we would walk along the road that ran past Osaka Bay, and a great moon would rise out of the water to turn the world to silver. I’m told that my first words were, “Big moon!” All my life I have felt the tug to write something, draw something, put together something with fabric, string and color, and the urge to create has grown through the years. I suppose, then, that it’s a natural thing that this blog be full of the things that so many of you enjoy doing…drawing, making something with fabric, and writing. Yuri's Brush with Magic, my newest book for middle schoolers follows the adventures of a brother and sister, the magic of words, and the incredible magic of the natural world. I'd love to hear from you! You can send me a note at: My blog is here: Or friend me on Facebook!

8 responses »

  1. Yes, there are those who are never satisfied by what they find in their search. Yet these folks continue to search, probe and ponder until they find another way, a new idea, a better object to appreciate. We need the constant seekers but also can learn from and relish those who find satisfaction easily; reveling in little discoveries from which we can all learn to extract the simple joys of life. Love those walks on the beach.

  2. Maureen, this is so beautifully written. And I can relate to being a “waffler.” When I left home for the last time shortly after college my father waved from the porch and said “I hope you find what you are looking for.” How often I have mused about the wisdom that must have been behind that heartfelt statement. And how often I have asked myself over the years, “is this what I was really looking for?” You are so right that we must be careful not to lose sight of what is really important as we search.

  3. Thank you so much for your insightful comments, Linda. We are all searching… and the trouble seems to be that every time we find something, our goal changes. Is that a constant in our DNA, I wonder? Is it because we are searchers that we are human?

  4. What an interesting twist to your story Maureen. I find that many times doing something that’s fun or enjoyable can end up disappointing due to some unforeseen event which intrudes. I get sidetracked so many times, but perhaps it is for the better as we we discover new or other interests along the way. Thank you for allowing me to contemplate this phenomena.

  5. Thank you, always, for reading, Marilyn! Maybe we do find new things to ponder along the way… or do we get completely muddled (as I always do) and forget what we were doing in the first place? Oh, me. A confusing world!

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