January 9th, 2004

Self-Portrait

(no subject)

Yesterday morning I took a stroll around the perimeter of the small island we had come to. I found two small treasures of immeasurable beauty. One was a sand dollar, with the intricate etched star pattern of the species. The other is not so easy to describe. It was the shell of some mollusk, but not a bivalve. It was a single piece, almost spherical, with one small opening on the top and again on the bottom. It was colored in the most exquisite and subtle lavenders and pinks and whites. A true gem, one that I was hoping to bring back as a gift to someone.

I asked my aunt for a safe place to put these treasures. I carefully placed them in the bag she indicated. When I returned a few hours later, the delicate pink shell was in five pieces. Someone had not been so careful, I'm guessing had carelessly flung the bag to the ground. I still brought it with me, as the pieces fit perfectly together and I thought I could glue them back together. When we returned to the place we were spending the night, only two of the five pieces remained intact, the rest having crumbled further. I brought these two pieces with me on the plane today -- if I couldn't enjoy the once-perfect architecture of this shell, I could at least still admire the beauty of its pallette. I got home and inspected what remained of my treasure: dust and several little pieces of broken shell. At least my sand dollar was intact, though.

As I carried the sand dollar out of my bag to show to my mom, I tripped on something. The sand dollar slipped out of my hands and fell to the floor. I winced as it shattered into a million pieces.

I am curiously hurt and sad at my failure to preserve these treasures. I don't normally feel so attached to objects like these, but they were of such exquisite beauty and refinement. I know full well that some animal gave its life for these treasures to be found. And I was awed that such delicate pieces of God's handiwork survived the battering of waves and washed up on shore unmarred. I wish I had at least taken pictures, to preserve some semblance of the colors and form. But all that is left now is a dim memory of such beauty and grace and the knowledge of how easily clumsy man can destroy the fragile gifts God grants us through nature.
Relax!  Grab a Book!

(no subject)

I just finished reading The Left Hand of Darkness. I am puzzled by those who warned me I might find it hard to get through. This is exactly the sort of science fiction I was looking for, a thinking person's book. I really wish my Book Club had chosen this title, as it is ripe with provocative themes and ideas to discuss. Unfortunately, there are a couple of members who, for some reason or other, are opposed to reading this book, so the chances of it getting selected were slim. If anyone who has read this book would like to sit down and discuss it with me at some point, I'd be open to that.

Now I had better start reading the actual book club selection, All the King's Men.