What will our legacy be?

The beach today

Acanthocardia uberculata / rough cockle

To spot a shell half buried in the sand, or glistening from the hightide line of tangled seaweed and driftwood, is a special moment – what treasure is being revealed? Many are so pretty, they find their way home in pockets, to adorn shelves and decorate our homes long after the creature who made them has gone.

Did you know?

The shell above is a type of ‘clam’. The word ‘clam’ is used to cover all bivalves such as scallops, oysters, arks and cockles and there are more than 15,000 species of clam around the word.

This particular shell, with its delicate coloured bands, and tiny sharp white spines is a ‘rough cockle’. There would originally have been two shells (valves) joined together by a sinew connective tissue to allow it to open and close. It would have lived in the sand, sending out a tongue-like tube above the sand to breathe and filter the water for phytoplankton to feed.

Reflective Moment

What kind of shell will we leave for those who come after us? Are we like the cockle shell who hides in the sand building patterns, ridges and spikes out of calcite? Or will we be the slimline blue haze of a mussel shell, to dwell in large communities before the tide washes our shells clean? Or how about the humble winkle, with its smooth, iridescent inner layer of nacre hidden under a whorl of twisted browns and yellows?

In the Christian church the shell is a symbol of ‘safe passage’ and linked to pilgrimages. This is because in the Bible it says that when James, the apostle, travelled, he asked for enough food and drink to fill a clam shell – asking a little from others, enabling even the poorest to help him. James’ final resting place being at Compostela, the shell became particularly associated with the Camino de Santiago, which is now one of the world’s greatest pilgrimage walks.

May you travel safely through life, and leave the world a brighter and better place from your journeying.

Sound of the sea today

Listen to the lazy roll of waves and the light flutter of wind as sea and air gently caress the land on a sunny spring afternoon.

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