“One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can only collect a few. One moon shell is more impressive than three. There is only one moon in the sky.” (Anne Morrow Lindbergh)
I am in love with this photo. I took it last week on the beach down the street. I have it on my computer desktop, I stare at it, get lost in it and feel so pleased with it. Rarely does that happen with photos that I take. I am not a photographer, I snap pictures with my iPhone to document my life, to please myself. I do not labor over taking a shot, but I just point, shoot and move on.
But this one, somehow it’s different. Maybe because it was taken at sunset, my favorite time of day, maybe because of the ocean waves and the glittering sand? The shell that I found is the central part of the scene, the Ta-Da part, the Diva of the whole. And she is a beauty. I found similar ones in the succeeding days, but nothing to compare with this one. If she had a name it would be Madonna, Liberace, or Aphrodite. Yes, Aphrodite, the goddess who arose from the sea.
I have learned a lot from “Aphrodite” already. Each shell on the beach is so different, just like each human being is unique, big, little, dark, light, wide, smooth, with differing flaws and color variations. And just like human beings they are each beautiful in their own way. Each a wonderful reminder that we are all special. Aphrodite is me…mine…connected to my psyche with it’s striking markings and minor flaws, yet full of strength and completeness.
I think of the kids that I am teaching right now and how different they are from each other. How shy and withdrawn some are, how confident some others, of all shapes and sizes and colors and each growing their exoskeletons and creating beautiful barnacles. I am so happy to be part of these creations and having just a bit of my influence on their shells. Maybe someday they can look back at their lives and say, “this beautiful color here was created the year we had Shakespeare at my school and did a Midsummer Night’s Dream. That year I was encouraged to come out of my shell and be myself without judgment.”
And I slip away down by the water
And I slip away down by the sea
Take love and give love
It’s got to be free
(Doobie Brothers White Sun)