Nature Sure is a Shell Raiser

I have this shell obsession. Well, not just shells but rocks too. (No! Don’t leave yet!)

They are all so fascinating–the different shapes, the colors, the sizes.

Upon spotting shells, I am always inspired to use them in some future creative endeavor, but . . .


they sit on shelves or in bowls or tiny ledges (or in boxes) in the house because putting glue on them or painting them seems somehow terribly wrong . . .  I just want to possess them.

And then I recall the physiology of the shell; it’s more complicated than you know. Its skeleton providing calcified protection,

a movable house of sorts for some,


a veritable seafood combination for other sea creatures . . .


Its color depends on its diet.

And it’s for these reasons that I return them to the ocean, a shell seeker no more. Perhaps one day you will admire the same shell and convey it to the ocean where it belongs. They aren’t ours to possess.

©Teresita Abad Doebley All rights reserved 2009-2011.

Quote of the Day for YOU: I have a large sea shell collection which I keep scattered on beaches all over the world. Maybe you’ve seen it. ~Stephen Wright


9 thoughts on “Nature Sure is a Shell Raiser

  1. I so relate to this. Last summer, we collected a ton of seashells after which my kids had all kinds of plans as to what we would do with them.
    It was all way too crafty and predictable for my senses.
    So I ended up taking a bath with the seashells instead. Becoming one with the miniature habitats while at the same time repulsing my kids to such an extent that they will never go anywhere near the seashells ever again.
    As far as I’m concerned. Mission accomplished.

  2. Love the shells. I share that same collection with you and Stephen Wright! But I also have some in my home from when I was a kid. As each semester starts I use a poem that uses shells as a metaphor for students to remind faculty (not that they need the reminder!) about how special students are. This is a poem that has been around for years. Here it is.

    You are probably wondering why you’ve been given a seashell. It is a gift to you to help you reflect on another gift you are about to receive: Your Students. Let’s take a few minutes to consider what the shell can tell us about them.

    Maybe your shell is fragile, delicate, and easily broken. So are your students. Handle them kindly and with care.

    Maybe your shell looks beautiful. Each student in your class has a special beauty. Discover it and help others to notice it and appreciate it.

    Maybe your shell is hard. Remember that the shell has a cover to protect a sea creature. Sometimes our students build a hard shell to protect themselves from harm. Open the hard outer shell to nurture the life within.

    Maybe you noticed that your shell has pieces chipped away or broken off. Some students have had difficult experiences that have chipped away their positive self-image and broken their spirit. Help to rebuild their self-image and rekindle their enthusiasm and motivation.

    Maybe you noticed that the shell was once very tiny and seemed to be built up one layer at a time. Your students are like that. Each one has a small core of knowledge and experience. Some will have many layers built around this core. Others have only a few. Others are still very small. Take your students as they are and add carefully to their growth.

    Maybe your shell looks plain and rather commonplace. Sometimes you may feel that there is nothing special about a student. Look again. You will see that each student is unique, just as each shell in unique. Help each student to realize his or her importance or worth.

    The shell you have in your hand is unique. It was carried to shore by the ocean just for you. What will you do with it now that it is yours? Each student in your class is unique, too. Each one is in your hands now.

    What will you do with your students now that they are yours?

    • Patti–thanks so much for the extended metaphor. I will probably share your comments in a future blog–with your permission, of course. I am like you: I believe that every child who walks through my door has a very special gift. Thanks again for the positive words–sometimes I need to be reminded of my purpose . . .

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