The Codroy Cobblestones

Richard LeBlond

Near the wharf in the southwestern Newfoundland outport of Codroy is a small beach where the ocean stores cobblestones. They look like huge gray potatoes, their surfaces, angles, and corners smoothed and rounded by the constant rolling. One can hear a thousand disunited voices saying “cobble” as each wave rolls them twice, once coming in and again going out. One can also hear a thousand wooden shoes walking in a tunnel walled with stone, or a ruptured storage bin in a bowling-ball factory, or a thousand skulls rolling down a bedrock slope in a catacomb.

Initially I thought the cobble sound obeyed two pulses, the faster pulse with the waves, and a slower one with the tides. On a return visit I was greeted with silence at the cobblestone beach, and assumed I would have to wait for high tide to hear the knock-about rocks again. So I interrupted three fishermen working with gear on the Codroy wharf to find out when the next high tide would be.

“Looks high now,” one of them said, his tone indicating the conversation had run its course.

But I was not deterred. “When I was here last year, the tide was rolling the cobblestones on the beach below the road going up the hill over there.” As I pointed towards the road, I realized I was on the verge of profound silliness, but could not stop myself. “It was a wonderful sound, and I was hoping to hear it again. I thought it happened at high tide.”

“Those was probably storm waves rolling the rocks,” said another fisherman, the look on his face suggesting he was working hard at sounding normal for someone who wasn’t.

Richard LeBlond is a biologist living in North Carolina, where he worked for that state’s Natural Heritage Program until his retirement in 2007. He continues his biological research, and has added travel, photography, and writing. Since 2014, his essays and photographs have appeared in or been accepted by numerous U.S. and international journals, including Montreal Review, Kudzu House, Appalachia, Weber–The Contemporary West, and Still Point Arts Quarterly.


  1. Nancy Clark says

    That was good. I love the beach especially when it is stormy. Sounds of waves over the rocks. We take our RV to camp group just below Lincoln City OR It look straight over the ocean, and can even walk on the beach. Our favorite place to go, whether it is nice or stormy. Thanks for for your writing. Keep it up. Nancy (Boyd) Clark.

  2. Linda Pearsall says

    Cobblestone beaches are a rare treat and the sound is unforgettable. These descriptions capture what I have never been able to describe. How many of us miss the wonders that are close to home and need a traveler to identify for us. Beautifully done. Thanks.

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