Sunday, June 21, 2009

A gift from the sea from father

On the inside cover of the old paperback Judy gave me to read...

Is the following:

July 21, 1974


This is a book that becomes a friend. Its a book you can read and hundred times I feel. It reads so simply and beautifully and yet she shows how an awareness of the world, in this case the sea and it shells, can prompt an increased awareness of inner self and needs.

She seems to blend her roles of wife, mother, and individual into a harmonious whole, just as we strive today.

She writes with a warm woman's heart. I hope you find this book enjoyable.


I do not know if Anne, some 25 years ago, did indeed find this book enjoyable. Eventually, it left her and found its way to Judy, and then on to me. In fact, I can keep it, she says. The book is falling apart at the seams; the cover is no longer attached to pages; the pages are separating from their signatures. She doesn't want it back, and I am welcomed to throw it away when I finish.

I don't read books for the purpose of reviewing them, but if I were to review this book, I'd have to say that Cheryl says it very well. It is an amazing little book, and I will eventually come across one in a used-book store that is intact. I have a feeling that I will be writing about things she says in several more posts to come. And everyone will be thoroughly sick of hearing about the book.

On reflection, I have my own personal gift from the sea. A gift from my father, who I am thinking a lot about because of Father's Day today. I am blessed that he is still alive. I am blessed because he was a good father. I have no childhood stories of neglect or mistreatment or other more subtle forms of abuse that parents can so easily inflict on their children.

I don't have too many tangible things in my possession that can be traced back directly to my father. I have a wooden "Kilroy" figure that used to reside on the visor in the car,

but whose nose and fingers are now hanging over the edge of the burlap where I keep my earrings (no photo of my Kilroy because the computer with the software to download photos from the camera is closed at the moment for repairs).

The item pertinent to this post happens to be a seashell. For many years when I was a kid, Dad periodically donned a rubberized wet suit, got his snorkel and mask, and went skin diving off the coast of Palos Verdes Peninsula for abalone. And he would come home with a burlap bag and dump out the large flat shells with the creature inside. And we ate them. Abalone was very, very good.

Sitting by the sink in our bathroom is a large abalone shell whose occupant we ate for dinner sometime back in the early 60s after my father pried it off its rock. Now it holds the soap that I use to shower with.

A round dark-green cake of soap scented with Maja, a gift from my mother. Maja is a Spanish perfume I was given when I graduated from high school by a next door neighbor who just happened to be from Spain...

Sandalwood soap, brown and fragrant, a gift from my son. A square cake of Lava soap. The men use it to clean their grimy hands, but didja know that Lava soap makes an inexpensive and very good face scrub? In fact, far more gentle on the skin than an "almond facial scrub" product I once used.

Also there is the selection for this month from the set of 12 soaps my mother gave me a few years ago: Cucumber and Green Tree. When July rolls around, I'll put that one back and begin using Mandarin and Coconut.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh used some shells she found on the beach as a launch point for poignant observations about life. So, I have my own little observation about a shell: The outside of the abalone shell is rough and warty looking, and many of the shells my father brought home had shells of other little cone-shaped creatures living on them (limpets?).

The shell has a natural series of holes that make it a good soap dish. The inside is quite a contrast;

It is beautiful, covered with a shimmery mother-of-pearl finish.

The life lesson from this is obvious. I just hope as I continue to progress through life that I can remember to look beyond outward appearances of the people I see every day to the beauty that lies within.


The Weaver of Grass said...

Beautiful post LLL. I always write inside the cover of books I give as presents - and reading what was inside yours twenty five years ago makes me realise how important it is to do so. I shall keep my eye open for that book - it sounds good.
That seashell is absolute wonderful - no wonder you have kept it.

Wanda said...

I enjoyed reading your meaningful post Leilani...creative how you wove the book and Fathers Day together...

Take care!