Shell Awareness

I always get homesick, this time of year.  I have fond memories of July in Maine, many festivals in my town and surrounding cities.  I know I live in a beautiful area as well, but there is a peaceful, serene solitude on the shore line of Maine vs. the Outer Banks.  The closest city to us, doesn't have a parade on the 4th; Every little town in Maine practically does.   The 4th here is quieter, different...   I grew up on a side street near the town warf.  There is also a cottage street, with many wonderful summer homes and views of the bay.  You could see the bay from our glassed in front porch and my bed room.  Time has planted a different view.  A huge weeping willow now blocks view of Penobscot Bay from my Mom's porch...we spent many summer nights, swinging on the porch glider, playing the guitar and singing.  She had a huge red table on the end of the porch, so we could enjoy the eating outdoor feel, while not be attacked by black flies.   We had many tea parties and it was a great place to play, when my brother n' I were small, especially rainy days!  I can remember a refrigerator boxes keeping us entertained for months.  We made it a house, a gas station pump and then later, climbed inside, close the lid and leaned so we could flip it over.   We were sad, when it was worn out.

We lived about 1/4 ml from the shore. We weren't aloud to go down there alone, til we reached a certain age, you had to be able to swim, before your feet could ever set foot on the warf  alone, and you could  never swim alone. When my Dad replaced the door on our front porch, with a screened one, our home became our summer camp.   We pretty much lived at the shore.  I can't tell you how many hours, I either swam, looked for shells, especially sand dollars.  When older I rode my bike to the warf, to see who was there, who was catching fish, or to see the jelly fish attached to one of the side floats.   Lobster boat races, street dances, parades, were  down near the warf.  It was magic, but for me the real magic was the shore, itself,
digging for clams, helping the little ones find baby crabs(we put them back), the shells, the discussions we over heard from our parents.  There were a lot of smiles and a few tears, tears because children did not want to leave.

Yesterday, I found my copy of the book, "Gift From The Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.  I was an adult, when I first read this amazing book.   Some of her wisdom, did not yet apply, I wasn't in that stage of life, the middle years, but now I can fully appreciate and so connect with her view.   For those of you that haven't read it, she connects certain shells she finds on the beach, with different phases of her life.  "I have only clues, shells from the sea. The bare beauty of the channelled welk tells me that one answer, and perhaps a first step, is in simplification of life, in cutting out some distractions. But how?"     "........I must find a balance somewhere, an alternating rhythm between these two extremes; a swinging of the pendulum between solitude and communion, between retreat and return." 

"Simplification of outward life is not enough. It is merely the outside. But I am starting with the outside.  I am looking at the outside of a shell, the outside of my life-the shell.  The complete answer is not to be found on the outside, in an outward mode of living.  This  is only technique, a road to grace.  The final answer, I know is always inside.  But the outside can give a clue, can help one to find the inside answer.  One is free, like the hermit crab, to change one's shell.   Channelled whelk, have set my mind on a journey, up an inwardly winding spiral staircase of thought." ~Anne Morrow Lindberg~

Again, the sea reminds me how to find myself, when I'm adrift and unsure of my thoughts~
If the shore, beach isn't your nature's retreat, you must find one...a place, a trail, a path that leads you away from yourself,  into the quiet stirrings of your soul!  Take time out to reflect, to reconnect with you and your hopes, dreams, and wishes.   Nature can nurture if you allow~


Becky Shander said…
It sounds like you could use a trip to the beach. If the Outer Banks is relatively close to you, it might be fun to get away for some r&r&r (rest, relaxation, reflection...) The beach is calling.
Kolleen said…
i agree with Becky!
nature can absolutely nurture.....i couldn't agree more.
this is a really beautiful post and i loved hearing about your mom's house and the big red table you would sit and eat at!
oh and the porch that visual!!!

hope you are having a wonderful week so far
with love
I live just minutes from the beach and it's wonderful.
I enjoyed the read and the pictures are awesome.A real pleasure to visit.

Stephanie said…
My daughter's name, Halli, means "thinking of the sea". The ocean has always been my meditative spot. Thanks for sharing!
That sounds like a wonderful place to grow up!
Nothing beats going to sleep with the sound of the ocean waves in the background, either.
Anonymous said…
I love the sound of waves. I love the rocking motion to. Never makes me sick, but sure does make me sleepy. Beautiful pictures. Makes me want to take a vacation. Have a great week.

Stephen Tremp
Marjorie said…
This post was absolutely beautiful! I love the beach. I love almost everything about it. It's the one thing I miss while I'm surrounded by mountains and desert.
Sherry Blue Sky said…
Oh what a beautiful page and lovely post this morning. Old sea lover that I am, it made me long for my wild beaches. They are an hour and a half away but I dont get there nearly often enough. I love your description of your wonderful childhood summers........nostalgia! Lovely work! Thanks so much.
paperbird said…
this is a beautiful post- your childhood sounds wonderful, you are so blessed to have these memories. I have always wanted to travel to Maine- hopefully someday I will be able to, it sounds and looks so beautiful.

Nature is most definitely nurturing...enjoy these lovely summer days.
Holly said…
I have been lucky enough to always live near the ocean...when I am at the beach I am lost in its beauty and power and the rest of the world slips away. I do not know what I would do without the ocean.

The way you describe your town makes me want to live their too! I dream of a place like that!
Mr. Stupid said…
Sounds like such a great place to grow up in. The Refrigerator Box holds a lot memories to me too. Beautiful pictures.
Hart Johnson said…
Where you grew up sounds heavenly! And possibly irreproducible. I think our memory gives those things soft, romantic edges that weren't really there when we experienced it. My grandparents had a lake cabin, and I felt much the way you describe about it. (I will never forget my cousin's tantrums that he had to wear a life jacket on the dock and I didn't, and my grandpa explaining that it was because I could swim)

I like that you have a book with some touching reminders and a way to keep things in perspective.
Sherry Blue Sky said…
Ellie, thanks for your lovely comments this morning. I have an absolute wealth of material, so there will be more, never fear. Later this morning will post a poem and photo of my grandma as a young woman, with her horse. If you look close, you'll see the horse cart in the background. No cars back then.My grandma said she was one of the first in her area to ride for pleasure. She rode into her sixties. Thanks for following my blog. It makes me happy :)
ella~ I have to find this book... it sounds like I would love it.. my brother is going to Maine in 2 weeks I will find out where.. We could plan a momification there.... any time you want...I will go with you.. I love the shells shots...
Anonymous said…
What a lovely post, Ellie.. I found it a charming, gentle respite. I constantly seek balance and a quiet spot for contemplation...not easy to find in the busy suburban neighbourhood I call home.

It was great to hear you referencing Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I have alway cherished her 'Gifts From The Sea', yet have not met many who've read it. Thanks for the reminder..I'm going to pull out my copy now and snuggle in for a read this afternoon!

Of course, I also loved the reference to the packing box. My first summer in Canada was spent turning a shipping crate into my own little house, which managed to amuse me mightily until I was able to make some friends.

I had my name changed by a sibling, sister was born when I was twenty and I have been simply 'Nette' to the family since she began to talk!. I have so enjoyed visiting with you and will come back soon...

I love this post Ellie! So evocative of childhood for me and days spent with my toes dug in the sand, making sand castles and sunburnt noses.

Isn't "A Gift From the Sea" wonderful? I discovered it long after it was written but loved it so. I gave it to my niece for one of her birthdays - she said she enjoyed it ... hopefully she will dip into it again as the seasons of her life ebb and flow.

Happy almost weekend!
ELK said…
your tender memories wash over me as if a shell ..lovely
arlee bird said…
Your descriptions sound like a collection of Norman Rockwell paintings. And yes, there was no toy much greater than a giant size cardboard box. Eventually the rigid corners would get all softened until it was no longer a box, but a cardboard tread you could roll in. I used to pretend I was in a tank.

Tossing It Out
Lloyd said…
I really enjoyed reading the posts on your blog. I would like to invite you to come on over to my blog and check it out. God's blessings too you. Lloyd
Ellie said…
Lloyd-Thank you; I will stop by and visit~

Lee-Thank you so much; I use to paint, years ago!
I love that Lee; We had one of those round hoops we'd crawl through. My brother would go pull on it back n' forth while I was trying to crawl through. I can see you in your tank ;-D

Elk-Lovely way you described your memories; Very

Sally-Love that line, ebb n' flow! I read it in my mid 20's. I found it beautiful, thought provoking and bittersweet. It is a gift that lingers, like those memories of your sand castles. Time shifts and we see things at different angle through our hour glass of life!

Nette-I love that you will find this book to escape in. I hope you make time to curl up and find comfort; It is a gift for our souls, when we do! Thanks for visiting~

Lisa-Do email me; I'd love to hear about your brother's trip. I see many 2nd hand copies of this at "Recycled Reader". I am pretty sure the library would have several copies, as well.
I want to go now, but time will tell...

Sherry-I look forward to stopping by again; your words make me feel like I'm visiting a relative in my past! Thank you~

Hart-I can see your memory; I had a cousin like that, too! I do think the edges are softened, the image a bit out of focus and we remember the magic in the details!~

Mr. S-You are so silly; I will visit soon...what is so good in that fridge?!

Holly-I know how it feels to move away. I couldn't breath; I moved to Orlando and it took my breath away. When we moved to Pensacola, FL
I was still in shock by the heat n' humidity, but I could get to the ocean, so all was good.

Paperbird-If you get the chance go; The best time of year is the Fall, when the foliage peaks! Thank you~

Sherry-YOU need to plan a trip; Just do it, you will be glad you went! It sounds far away, but it really isn't.

Marjorie-I love the mountains, too...their is beauty everywhere! We can swap a bit, if you want :-D

Stephen-You need to go on vacation; Write where you want to visit and plan the trip! I want to see pics~(You can go Daytripping)

Hi Alex-I didn't live close enough to hear the waves, but the wind whipping up from the shoreline, soothed me to sleep!

Steph-I love the name and the meaning; very beautiful! I hope she likes her name~

Yvonne-How wonderful; nothing like the escape right out your back door!

Kolleen-I look forward to visiting your blog soon! You have some amazing pics! I saw some stuff on Chrissy's blog~

Hi Becky-We are discussing it now~ I want to go to Outer Banks, NC; Husband wants to go to Williamsburg, VA I don't know if we are flipping a coin or what. My son just came home announcing,he has the weekend off, from work. (very rare) Another reason to go to the shore~
Ellie said…
I just made comments to all of you and Blogger said, "too large" and it vanished! I will be back to re do my comments, til then...
I want to Thank all of you for your comments and I love that most of you, have ties to the ocean and shore. If you can try to make a visit, it is so worth the time! It is a time out for our souls, a chance to regain our youth, remember when we.....

Thank you everyone!!!
Ellie said…
Wow, it did post, anyway~
Fifi Flowers said…
BEAUTIFUL beach photos!!!