Catching the Drift on Driftwood
Posted by E.G.D. on October 4, 2012
I’ve been collecting driftwood for quite some time, now, mostly favoring thoroughly weathered pieces, but I’ve never actually bothered to specifically seek it out. When I hit the beach, I tend to pick up anything I find interesting. I might take home shark teeth, seashells, coral, agates, sea beans, beach glass, ocean-smoothed pottery, sand dollars, or driftwood from any beach I visit. Granted, for most of the things on that list, I have visited beaches with the specific intention of finding them. Today, I was fingering a couple of prize pieces of driftwood I have long displayed on my bathroom counter, and I found myself wondering why not driftwood? It has so much personality, and it can have so much history behind it! Was this old, worn piece of wood once part of a ship? Was it part of a building that fell into the ocean, or was it part of a structure swept away by the mighty Mississippi river and taken out to sea with its flow? There’s generally no way of knowing, but there is definitely a certain romance in wondering.
Now, I’ve been surfing the web for hours today, and I have found very little “official” information about finding driftwood. There do not appear to be many driftwood experts on the web who collect it strictly for fun, rather than profit! However, I have come to some conclusions of my own, based on my own experience, as well as on today’s internet wanderings. Firstly, driftwood is like any other beachcombing find, in that it is best to look for it right after a storm and at low tide. Also, similar to the fact that beach glass is easiest to find on beaches near bars and old dumps, driftwood is easiest to find on beaches that are near forests or downstream from logging areas. Finally, as with any item you might want to take home from a beach, different beaches have different rules with regard to driftwood collection (for instance, according to an article from the St.Lewis Post-Dispatch, if you want to collect driftwood on the beaches in Illinois state parks, you’ll need to secure a firewood collection permit in advance, and in St.Lewis County, it is illegal to remove driftwood from any beach or river shore at all).
Now, this isn’t much of a guide, I know, but it’s a start! Why don’t we expand upon it? Do any of you readers out there have advice about finding driftwood? Do you have any cherished driftwood finds you would like to share with our little community? Please feel free to start up a conversation in the comment area below! If you would like to send a picture our way, I will be happy to post your triumphs right here in the post, properly labeled so that you can claim bragging rights.
In the meantime, best of luck beachcombing, everyone! Here’s knocking on driftwood- E.G.D.