I was just on retreat at Villa Maria del Mar for two days. It is in Santa Cruz, on a cliff right on the beach. When I texted my daughter to say that I had gone tidepooling that morning before breakfast, she asked if I had drawn any critters from the tidepools for her. I hadn’t brought either my sketchbook or my camera down to the pools, but this morning I took a photo of some of the seaweed that I love on this beach, and decided to draw it as my “leaf” today.

I looked up seaweed to see if it actually has leaves, and no, the part that looks rather like a leaf is called the blade, or lamina, and its function isn’t photosynthesis, as in vascular plants. Its functions make it just as important to the seaweed as leaves are to a tree on land, though: buoyancy and reproduction.