IN 1955 Anne Morrow Lindbergh (yes, that one, the wife of
‘Lucky Lindy) took a vacation, more like a retreat, to a warm
shore and wrote a thoughtful book which recently was re-
printed. Here is a portion that spoke to me:
“I turn the shell in my hand, gazing into the wide open door
from which the occupant made his exit. Had it become an
encumbrance? Why did he run away? Did he hope to find
a better home, a better mode of living? I too have run away,
I realize. I too have shed the shell of my life, for these few
weeks of vacation.
But his shell — it is simple, it is bare, it is beautiful.
Small, only the size of my thumb, its architecture is perfect,
down to the finest detail. Its shape, swelling like a pear in
the center, winds in a gentle spiral to the pointed apex.
Its color, dull gold, is whitened by a wash of salt from the
sea. Each whorl, each faint knob, each criss-cross vein in
its egg-shell texture, is as clearly defined as on the day of
creation. My eye follows with delight the outer circum-
ference of that diminutive winding staircase up which this
tenant used to travel.
My shell is like this, I think. How untidy it has become:
blurred with moss, knobby with barnacles, its shape is
hardly recognizable any more. Surely, it had a shape
once. It has a shape still in my mind.
What is the shape of my life?”
…………………… From the book, GIFT FROM THE SEA.
I was asked a similar question at the opening of the North
Star Underground Railroad Museum, Ausable Chasm, NY
on Saturday. I found that question to be so deeply personal
that I was stumped for words, and that remains with me.
I am grateful to that questioner, for it is such a good time
now to take a look at that. I’ll keep you posted.
with love …