Shells have always fascinated me. I know I'm not the only one. Shells have a mystical beauty to them, with perfect lines, neverending swirls, and pastel colors.
In my holiday trip to Florida in December we visited Fort Myers Beach. I was amazed at the number of perfect shells littering the high tide line, like a sparkling point of no return. I was a child again, excitedly picking up overflowing handfuls of perfect shells, looking for a bag or container in our belongings so that I could go back to get more.
My son joined me for a while, and my daughter, but the icing sugar sand intrigued them more. The sand was perfect sand castle texture and they were determined to dig deep enough and build high enough around them to become part of the beachscape.
But the beauty that the ocean left behind on it's daily retreat, drawn by the moon, was entrancing. Perfectly curved creamy lemon and orange shells, some with dark purple or iridescent insides, lined our walk.
I continued to wander up and down the tide line with our dog. He sniffed as we walked along, and perked his ears forward at every dry piece of seaweed that moved in the breeze. "Shadow, they aren't alive." I'd whisper.
Then I wondered, why were there so many shells? Did something happen to the tiny creatures that once inhabited these beautiful homes? The obvious answer, yes, was replaced with wondering if something unnatural happened in their living habitat. As the rented power boats created a constant hum this side of the horizon, I wondered if humans had been careless enough to affect the ecosystem of the shells on this shore.
I tried to shake those negative thoughts. I was determined to find a way to display my collection to honor nature's beauty. I was also careful to ensure I was allowed to bring them home.
Shells are a symbol for all things living. They start their life as a tiny being, then radiate out in perfect uniformity, growing and expanding. As they grow, the beginning point becomes stronger. When we as humans grow, internally we become stronger.
The nautilus shell, the one that spirals round and round, has been examined in mathematics, engineering and metaphysics. The mathematical Fibonacci sequence (adding each number together to get the next number) is also seen in the spiral of the shell.
As I examine these perfect shells, their graceful forms, their calm colors, I decide that I can honor their beauty through my life. I can reach for more grace and calm, and with childlike attention, notice the moments of living perfection before me. As the spiral of my life continues to grow, and I become stronger internally, I hope to reflect the beauty of the shell.
And so that those shells are always there for others to see, I must choose my steps carefully, aware of my effect on nature and those around me, so that we do not reach a point of no return.