Before I launch into Shell Seekers, I thought I’d share some “reflection” on why I blog. I feel as fellow humans, we (most of us) have the need to share, just as we have the need to gather, and the need to be part of something, like a family. Sometimes I wonder who will read and furthermore who will like or even enjoy what I write. I am not a trained writer or editor, so go easy on your judgment of me.
I participated in Writers’ Week at UNCW and one guest speaker, Julie Buntin, an author and editor of Catapult, spoke of how writers need to keep at it, don’t quit and expect to be rejected. Failure is okay. The process with all the ups and downs will make you a better writer. Then I was reading a blog by a pastor Bruxy Cavey, a phenomenal voice in the Christian community who stated in one of his blog posts that he naturally is not a writer or even a reader but he is an avid learner. His desire and need to learn causes him to read a ton and subsequently write. Both connections or appointments this week, by two unique individuals, offered a message that landed squarely on me and without them knowing, encouraged me to keep at it. Somehow connections with our fellow humans have a way of influencing us. Maybe these connections are “random” or maybe they are more “deliberate” than we think? So I’m thankful for those moments and therefore I will continue to write and share and seek…shells.
Most of us beachcombers can’t resist picking up shells as we peruse the shore. We venture out with certain tendencies: some do some surfacing picking and some sift a little deeper.
As we stroll along the beach looking for shells, we have the opportunity to choose whatever we want. Unlike other possessions we accumulate, shell gathering does not cost money. We make purchase decisions based on our ability to pay. With shell seeking we can be a little selfish and take as many as we want. Maybe that is why it is so fun. No one is there saying, that’s too many or you can’t afford that! Shell seeking is complete freedom and joy. You can take more than you need and it has no ill-consequence (except the extra sand in your bag or car). However, I also find it interesting how selective of a shell seeker we can become. We can take all we want, and sometimes we do, yet we often only choose the ones that we think have a unique or special character.
If we were high school seniors applying to various colleges, our shell seeking tendencies would be equivalent to a “highly selective” school. We all are drawn to certain colors, shapes and sizes when it comes to our shell selection. Some like shells that are a solid color and some more multicolored. We tend to pick up a bunch of shells, then when we leave the beach, we sift through the pile and keep those that appeal to us and are deemed special or worthy of keeping. Sometime we feel sad tossing them onto the sand or back in the water from where they originated and other times we show little care or concern for their well-being.
On some level our shells are like a prize. Once we get home we sort and rinse and give them another opportunity of admiration as they settle onto a place of prominence. Perhaps we set them on a windowsill or in a glass jar or even a lovely crystal vase. We never seem to have enough shells, there’s always room for a few more. I sometimes have great plans for my shells, usually a craft project on Pinterest that I never actually do. For the most part, the shells become a universal ornament that adorns a shelf or a special place to remind us of the beach. But it is more than just a reminder. Shells are uniquely beautiful. We recognize something amazing about shells and how they housed a living sea creature. We’re bringing a bit of sea-life and nature into our home which is something most of us enjoy.
I find it quite interesting how some shells are deemed worthy of our ownership and others are not. Have you ever noticed how you treat a shell that is chipped or has some imperfection, which occurs naturally from the tossing of the waves? We quickly discard it without even a moments consideration. It’s funny how we are drawn to “perfection” and yet perfection is an impossible possibility. I know it’s hardly appropriate to compare a tossing of an imperfect shell to other aspects of life, but just consider the symbolism. Maybe there is something there? Maybe without saying anymore, there is something worth pondering?
So the next time you are out there seeking shells, maybe you’ll pause and even chuckle as you decide which ones to keep and which ones to toss. Either way, the shells that are left behind will eventually be turned to itty-bitty pieces of sand, and that’s okay too (maybe a little sad). It certainly is fun to collect shells and place them here and there throughout your house and yard. Shells may be free and yet they decorate my home, and likely yours. How true it is that the most important things in our lives are those “things” that are not bought! It also is funny to think that most of us enjoy picking up shells. At least we have that in common. What a nice thought, something we all can agree upon!
Happy Shell Seeking
*Oh, one more thing. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention and recommend one of my most favorite books, can you guess? The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher. It’s such a great book. Pick it up when you get a chance, you won’t regret it.