Let’s “Shellebrate” Nature’s Example of Beauty and Diversity
Observing nature has a way of making one feel whole, completely perfect in our bodies and being. We stand in a forest of trees, a garden of flowers or stare at seashells of color and textures, not once questioning or frowning upon the variety and quirk we see. If anything, it is that same variety that makes an untouched forest, wild garden or handful of seashells extraordinarily and poignantly beautiful. It is the absence of control that takes our breath away. We give in to the wild and love it for its wilderness.
In a world where we feel daily pressure to somehow believe we’d be better off if we matched the status quo, keeping our uniform shells (or “shellves” — ha!) and throwing out the variety, I look at the image below and know in an instant that that cannot be the truth. Of course, I don’t claim to know what truth is, and I myself feel (not entirely, but certainly to a point) brainwashed with the promise of uniform “perfection”, but when I observe nature and have my breath taken away by its wilderness, or feel my soul delight in its (perfect) imperfection, I can’t help but feel deeply to my core that that is the true essence of our beings: wild, diverse, unique, perfectly imperfect, magical beauty. We are nature. We are one, reflected in all life around us. Uniformity is manmade.
These shells, existing (in an image or beach) in such diverse harmony, bring warmth to my heart. In them, I recognize the individual beauty each shell holds while admiring and loving them all as a whole, observing that without one another, without diversity, the image of that world would be far less interesting and beautiful. Similarly, each shell can represent pieces of ourselves, the ones we’ve chosen as “good”, and kept, as well as the ones we’ve thrown out for being different from the status quo (which I don’t blame ourselves for). What if those parts of ourselves we’ve discarded are equally as beautiful as the ones we’ve kept? Can we handpick them from the ocean again, take them back home and give them life, treasuring them too?
Shells found in Mérida, Mexico. During sundown one evening, after wrapping (a day of work) on the beach, I had a moment to explore the (seemingly endless) miles-long, horizon-chasing mountains of shells at my feet. Upon taking a closer look, I was in awe at the variety, bright pinks, neon yellows and creamy oranges I found in these shells. I wanted to share them with you! All shot on 35mm film.
Every comforting feeling or sense of belonging we need can be found in nature’s example.