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Affinity to Seashells


Like many people I have collected seashells. (I still do have a small collection somewhere in a suitcase.) Something attracted me, maybe the beauty and the almost perfect shape they have. People use them to decorate things in uncountable ways.
Later I learned that these shells are the remnants left behind by slimy and not always benevolent creatures called mollusks. Creatures, who are probably the least interested and wholly unconscious of what they create, being totally absorbed in the simple fight for survival and thinking mainly about how to satisfy their hunger and other needs.
Even though we are different in that we can be aware of what we do with our lives, I kind of feel an affinity with these lowly animals, way down the food chain, who in spite of the triviality of their lives create this beauty of the seashells.
Isn’t our life also caught up very much in trying to survive and getting what we need or think we need? Don’t we hope that in spite of these daily struggles something lasting, something beautiful will come from it?
In her books Robin Hobb describes kings, who at the end of their lives build magic stone dragons by putting themselves and all their knowledge and powers into these dragons and then finally disappear into them. A parable of an artist’s creative work or even a scientist’s. Very much like the seashell’s mollusks.
And in a way we all do this. We all leave something behind as we pass through life, be it works of art or writing, which we hope will continue to be valued; or other contributions in which we try to help humanity; and, last but not least, in what we pass on to our children and to those, whose lives we touch.
Are we aware of what we make day by day by trivial pursuit? What will our “stone dragons” be like? In Robin Hobb’s novels those dragon one day in a time of need will come to life. Maybe ours will too.
While life passes, what we do and say each day is written in the book of life, the book of time, if you want, and can never be changed. It will stay behind like the seashells on the shore.
All seashells have shape, form, and color, but some are more beautiful than others.
I hope there will some beauty in mine.