Ever feel cramped or stagnant in your current setting? If so, we can certainly feel “painful”, or at the very least, “restless or confined”. When that happens to me, I typically go out into nature to clear my head; all the while staying ‘open’ to situations that present themselves spontaneously. Imagine my surprise when I was strolling along New Smyrna Beach, FL taking in the scenery and looking for rare sea-glass… No sea-glass to be found, yet I spied a very nice shell; maybe a small conch? It was much bigger and a different type than the tiny clam shells I’ve been finding earlier in the week. As soon as I picked it up, I noticed movement- did it still have a current resident? Sure enough! Well, it was low tide and this little gem was far from the water’s edge, and me without my phone or camera. I REALLY wanted to share my discovery with my grandson and family. What to do? I decided to gently carry him the mile or so, back to the condo, stopping every so often to fill his chamber with ocean water and keep the surface wet. It seemed like the thing to do to replicate his habitat while in transit.
Safely at "Home"
I was elated to make it back to the resort and locate a nice covered glass Pyrex casserole dish in the cupboard- perfect temporary abode for my new friend, right? Quickly I scooped up a bunch of fresh ocean water and gave him some peace and quiet to see what would happen. Low and behold, within a few short moments, my little friend was scampering around in the bowl, peering out and stretching his legs. We even attracted some curious new onlookers at the resort; everyone enjoyed meeting my new pal and sharing lively conversation. There was a time in life when I would have felt the need to cling onto this little gem; to take him back home to Jacksonville (a short 2-hour drive) and set up a saltwater aquarium once again. However, this is not the way nature wishes for me to experience life today. Instead, I will be returning him safely home to the ocean, where his adventure will continue. Hopefully, he will be strong enough to survive the transition, especially with the siesta and safety enjoyed briefly in the casserole dish. If not, then the food chain will continue uninterrupted, probably without my new friend realizing the impact he made in my life today.
Lessons from Nature
So, what have I learned? First, the current resident of this shell does NOT appear to be the original inhabitant, as you can see by the video. My guess is that he is a little hermit crab who found this shell vacant and needed a new home… most likely having outgrown his old abode or finding it unsatisfactory. Instead of staying put and feeling cramped, he vacated his old way of life and moved into unfamiliar territory. It may have been a little scary at first, yet he seems perfectly at ease now, making the best of his new situation even when in uncharted waters (like the casserole dish). How I wish that we all were brave enough to “move on” without unnecessary judgment, like other species in nature…While seeking comfort, my new friend just happened to pick up another guest along the way. Initially, I wasn’t sure what the soft, squishy thing was on the end of the shell… was it part of the inhabitant? Only after placing the shell into the safety of the casserole dish did I discover its true identity. It was a beautiful little anemone which unfurled its tightly curled-up tentacles when it felt safe again… I guess we never know what we will attract along our adventure in life, but when we feel safe, we can relax and be ourselves. So much to learn from nature, if we simply take the time to observe and appreciate these gifts from the Divine. In this unexpected interlude, I witnessed and felt deeply that we must be strong enough to release those things that confine us unnecessarily (finding a new shell, perhaps), and be brave enough to “unfurl our tightly clenched tentacles” in a safe setting and swim in the open waters of life (just like the anemone, riding the waves with a new friend). Let the adventure continue! 😊