Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Bivalve Shell

"One doesn't come often come across such a perfect double-sunrise shell. Both halves of this delicate bivalve are exactly matched. I hold two sunrises between my thumb and finger. Smooth, whole, unblemished shell, I wonder how its fragile perfection survived the breakers on the beach. The pure relationship, how beautiful it is! How easily it is damaged, or weighed down with life itself. For the first part of every relationship is pure, simple and unencumbered. And then how swiftly, how inevitable the perfect unity is invaded; the relationship changes; it becomes complicated. There is a dead weight accumulation, a coating of false values, habits, and burdens which blights life. It is this smothering coat that needs constantly to be stripped off, in life as well as in relationships.... In marriage, both men and women are absorbed in their specialized roles and each misses something of the early relationship. In a growing relationship, however, the original essence is not lost but merely buried under the impedimenta of life. The core of reality is still there and needs only to be uncovered and reaffirmed. One way of rediscovering the double-sunrise is to duplicate some of its circumstances.....going on vacations alone together, whether for a weekend or even just a night... having breakfast alone with the man one fell in love with.... How the table at home has grown! And how distracting it is, with the four or five children, a telephone ringing.... the school buses to catch, not to speak of the commuter's train. How all this separates one from one's husband.... One learns to accept the fact that no permanent return is possible to an old form of relationship; and, more deeply still, that there is no holding of a relationship to a single form. All living relationships are in a process of change, of expansion, and must perpetually be building themselves new forms. There are perhaps different shells I might put in a row on my desk to suggest the different stages of any relationship. My double-sunrise shell comes first. Two flawless halves bound together with a single hinge." Quotes from Gift From The Sea Anne Morrow Lindbergh *photos from seashells.com

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