PREFACE: For the past several years I’ve been thinking about writing a series of short essays that would attempt to catalog the variety of thematic trends I’ve observed when walking along any given seashore looking for shells, rocks and anything else that may be of interest as a gift from the ocean. Whatever subject begins this series doesn’t mean I grant more importance to it than the other topics to come as it’s just my most recent experience while exploring along the shoreline. Given that seashell-picking has been a hobby for countless centuries, I’m sure whatever I may write will be a repeat of wisdom before my time but worth recounting nevertheless.
BROKEN BITS: AN ANALOGY OF ANTHROPY
It’s an alluring tease to pick up a big shard of what clearly was part of a beautiful shell if it were in its entirety. We can’t help but look around immediately just in case the missing pieces are nearby and available to help restore this lacking bit in our hand.
People that we encounter in our lives are many times just like that conch shell bit that showed a mere glimpse of what it once was or could be. When we may be slighted by someone we just met it can be so easy to take it personally. However, if we paused for a moment and noticed the details, we might recognize that this person is unfortunately incomplete at the moment and has the potential to be whole and content–it’s just that at this time they’re very much just a piece of who they can be and therefore may come across with impatience, judgmental and other abrasive attitudes.
Whenever I find these phantom shells with edges broken and jagged, I resist the urge to collect them and instead toss them back into the breaking surf. I know I’ll find a complete shell like it one day and even if that day never comes I believe that they exist and that gives me hope.