Here we are...

Just off the Port Bow—a place of uncertainty, adventure, and insight. Thank you for your ears, eyes and hearts. I hope to bring compassion, grace and beauty to your day.

She Sells Sea Shells...

There is, in fact, such a shop on Periwinkle Drive in Sanibel, FL. Check it out here! I remember visiting shell shops as a boy and marveling at the endless shelves of shellacked shells. I also remember going to the beach and finding endless piles of broken shell pieces, and wondering how one found the shiny specimens the shops sold.

Fast forward to the '90s, when we were blessed to visit Gasparilla Island in the summertime, and snorkeled our way into shell heaven. Our upstate New York home is generously shell populated.

There are conflicting opinions on which island holds the title of Best Shelling Beach: Marco Island or Sanibel Island. I have been to both, the former as a boy, the latter...as I write.

Again, my question remains, "Where do all the good shells go?"

This morning we went out to the beach relatively early. It was low tide and not many folk out. There was a striking family all in green tee shirts (The Greens, one wonders?), each with bucket and net. Serious shellers. Then there were dots of singles, couples, a father and daughter, walking along in that easily discerned manner of shellers. The packed low tide shelf displayed enough footprints to let me know that scores of folk had preceded us on this stretch of prime shelling sand ere dawn's early light fully flooded the strand.

Ours was a short walk, just under two miles. I gave it a little effort and did come up with four lovely Florida Fighting Conchs, and an Atlantic Giant Cockle. I could tell that some of our beach companions were reaping a similar harvest.

As I walked and stalked I pondered the meaning of these shells and their plight.

Each one of the shells I found had been home to a friendly mollusk of some sort. What its fate had been I don't know. It left behind its calcified carapace for me to pick up and take home. Untold gazillions of its kinfolk continue to roam the Gulf seabed, awaiting a similar (or disimilar?) fate. Abandoned, rolled to the shore, picked up and loved, or crushed and abandoned again to become, in time, tabby (a brick like solid used for building in St. Augustine and elsewhere).

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, author of Gift from the Sea, shelled these beaches (specifically Captiva). Colusa Indians shelled these beaches. There does not seem to be an end to the bounty, nor an end to the tale of the beautifully be-robed mollusk.

There is an intriguing thing of vanity here. Something lovely that "withers and decays" and then is lovingly resurrected to a new life of loveliness. And, there is no end to the loveliness. Every shell has its own striking and often extravagant beauty.

And, as for those crushed by wave, weight, time and tide—to become the bedrock of coral reefs, or the tabby foundations of Spanish garden homes—what of these? More vanity? More wonder? More inscrutable design?

I understand the ones who sell seashells, though they shall not profit by my custom. Mary and I will stroll, stoop, and wonder come the next roiling tide.

Daily Delights - Tuesday

Daily Delights - Monday