Sitting on Cocoa Beach in Florida, my bottom on wet sand, I enjoyed the spot where spent waves lap the land. Warm and foamy water flowed over the lower half of my body. With each receding wave, an accumulation of ocean refuse was deposited around me—lengths of seaweed and shards of shells. I was close enough to the ground to see that among the broken bits were some intact shells, tinier than my pinkie nail. I began inspecting them and then collected them, amused by their diverse designs.