The Seashell

Ama Reynolds, USA

Ama lives two minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. A professional copywriter by day, she is currently working on a memoir, as well as a poetry collection.

(Submitted by the author)

Oh, how the years pass - so quickly. The days, the weeks, the months, the hours. How did I get here?

In Jacksonville, Florida, outside of an office, the roar of the highway sounds like ocean waves - the rush you hear when you put a big seashell to your ear.

When I was small, I would listen. The shell would cover my tiny ear, and some adult or other would say, “Listen. You can hear the ocean in this shell. No matter where you are - far away from here, from the sea and the water and the waves - just listen. Close your eyes and listen. And you'll be right back here, on this white sand, in the salty water, with this bright sun dappled by passing clouds - they seem to move so much faster here under this big sky, don't they, with the hours rolling forward and back, forward and back over and over and over.

"Time seems to stop here, doesn't it? It's so quiet here, isn't it? No matter the noise, the dogs barking and the radio playing, the people talking. The ocean has a stillness to it - a quietness to it - just like the snow. The snow you'll see later, if you move away from here. You'll see the white as it covers everything - rolling hills and buildings and trees - every single thing.

"I know you can't imagine it now and the hours are so long and bright now they seem to go on forever but let me tell you, one day, you will be on your own, in a home of your own, all the totems of your life surrounding you - and you'll have a quiet chair, windows, live on a lovely street of strangers, and the cold may come, the snow may fall, and the window will be open just a little to let the air in.

"You may have a family, friends, or just a cat - but the air will come in before breakfast and the light will be so bright against the white and you'll look out in wonder at days past: the hours, the years.

"Maybe you'll put this shell to your ear - pull it from your shelf covered with all the books you've experienced and the letters you've kept and the words you've said. After all that, just a little bit of a lifetime or maybe more, you'll put this shell to your ear, a soft vacuum of sound will rush out and you'll feel the sun and the clouds and the waves and the blue blue sky - but mostly, you'll hear the sound, over and over, of salty waves crashing and retreating again and again and again and again.

"Isn't it amazing how the hours rush by, you'll think, the years. Just put the shell to your ear. Aren't you glad I showed you this? All your little world, from this day carried forth, my voice, too, carried, inside the spiral stairs of this small shell, your gift from the sea."

Image credit: Karen Browning

Comments

3 comments

Submitted by Anonymous user on Mon, 08/29/2011 - 04:35.

Wow. That's beautiful.

Submitted by Brenna Alonzo on Sat, 08/27/2011 - 18:03.

You have captured something of my own life that you couldn't have known about. Thank you for putting it in words--and such sweet ones at that.

Submitted by Jess on Sat, 08/27/2011 - 17:43.

Beautiful, Ama! Tears streaming…

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