For art school graduation 15 years ago, a friend gave me Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea. The author's love for the sea and fascination with its treasures lead her to write about contentment, solitude and balance. I need to read it again because these days, I'm challenged with restlessness, disharmony and general untidiness of the intangible sort, while I am in standby mode, waiting (there's that dreaded word) for the right time to make a move towards exciting career and personal opportunities.
In Gift from the Sea, Ms. Lindbergh splits her thoughts into chapters using shells as metaphors. She writes:
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 circumference of that diminutive winding staircase up which this tenant used to travel.
My shell is not 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?