Gift From the Sea

It was not a good morning for octopi………… I found two of them with their shells on the beach this morning.

It was the hottest walk I’ve ever taken on the beach.. I couldn’t believe that there was no cooling breeze.  Snoopy and I went by car to the point, and set out, wading in the low tide and watching for interesting shells.  We hadn’t gone very far when I just decided I’d had enough.  I was up too early and didn’t want to go any farther.  We went up to the high tide mark, and hadn’t gone 10 meters on our return journey when we came upon our first paper nautilus.   The octopus was still in her shell, but had been out of water for far too long.  One perfect shell, and larger than the first one I found.

We hadn’t gone that far when we found the second one with her shell close by.

I also found a few other shells – like a cowrie of a colour I haven’t seen before, and some rather large olive shells with distinctive markings, a light coloured pen shell, and a small bonnet shell that doesn’t show up very well in the photo, but is quite rare to find on this beach.

Quite a long time ago, I came upon a book called “Gift From the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.  It is a lovely, gentle book, written in 1955 by the wife of the pilot Charles Lindbergh.  It is a book about life in general, and a woman’s life in particular……. jottings of thoughts on her solitary vacation at the beach as she centred herself and became aware of what was truly important in her life.  She gathered shells as I do…… filling her pockets at first, and then, gradually she began to pick and choose the best, the most meaningful… the few that would always remind her of where she had been and what she had learned.  I think that we do this a lot in life, with more than shells, surrounding ourselves with only those books and friends that enhance our lives, and shedding those that clutter or tear us down.  We learn to treasure quality over quantity.

Mrs. Lindbergh packed a lot about life in her thin volume…… I think I need to sit quietly and reread it. 

But first, I’d better wash those shells.

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6 Responses to Gift From the Sea

  1. As beautiful the shells are I hope you don’t find any more…seems a shame. Surely you need to keep hunting though.

  2. Bettie says:

    On Friday, 29 April 2011 after a brisk walk I picked up 3 well intact paper nautilus (argonauta argo) shells on the beach at Al Bar, Sur.

    • That’s neat. How big were they, Bettie? Mine are about 2″ high by 3… found pieces that would be 4 x 5. I’d love to find a larger one.

      • Looking closely at my shells, the whole ones seem to be argonauta bottgeri, which are smaller and dark. Two of the bits look to be argonauta argo, which grow much larger and have a much finer ruffle on the edge.

  3. Mollusc says:

    Sorry for posting twice. Found a 27cm intact pen shell today – can anyone give me guidance on cleaning and caring for it? Any info on this species v welcome!

  4. Thomas O'Connor says:

    look up articles on Paper Nautilus – so named because the shells are so thin

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