A Oyster Bed
It is untidy, spread out in all directions, heavily encrusted with accumulations and, in it's living state-embedded on its rock.
Using the shells to represent different stages of our life is what Anne is doing and feeling that the oyster is a good one for the middle years of marriage. It suggest the struggles of life itself.
Struggling to achieve a place in this world as a couple, or as an individual in mid years. These years rise to a busyness that doesn't allow one to sit gazing at each other (sunrise shell stage)...No, quite the opposite.
Working together to form a strong base, roots and ties might be the goal at this time. Not one single strand or approach but many as Anne describes it as different textures and strengths, like a web taut and firm.
This base is a foundation built on many loves, romantic, devotion all playing through this union. Many loyalties, interdependencies and shared experiences.
I'll call it the ebbs and flows....memories and conflicts; acceptance of lack of language to knowledge of likes and dislikes, of habits and reactions both physical and mental.
As Anne shares, a web of instincts and intuitions, and knowing and unknown exchanges.
Anne continues to describe her Oyster shell... "It is humble, awkward and ugly. Slated color, unsymmetrical, not beautiful but functional. Resenting it's burdens and excrescences. She describes it as, comfortable in it's homeliness, like old garden gloves to the shape of the hand. I relate this as a Wabi Sabi homestead...imperfect in it's perfectness.
Many couples are to find themselves in middle age, high and dry in an outmoded shell, in a fortress which has outlived it's function. What is one to do...move on or stay...form new experiences?
At this point its not about going back in time.. to a stage of union/marriage... most likely one has out grown that part/stage of life. Anne thinks that this stage of life is more about shedding of shells... the shell of material accumulations, and possessions, and the shell of ego. Wow there's a surprise...the shedding of ego...little eye opener for me.
The shedding of one's pride, one's false ambitions, one's mask, one's armor. Darn we do this in this world today? it's about becoming completely oneself. Anne adds "what a liberation that would be!"
We Americans with our terrific, emphasis on youth, action, and material success, certainly tend to belittle the afternoon of life and even to pretend it never comes. We push the clock back and try to prolong the morning, over reaching and over straining ourselves in the un-natural effort. Be aware this could lead to competing with our sons and daughters.
Moving into the second half of life "stage" can be consider a second flowering or second adolescence. This part of the expanding is often tragically misunderstood, with discontent, restlessness, doubt, despair, longing are interpreted falsely as signs of decay. With the second half of life could this misunderstanding just growing pains? And this can be consider something to go through like a Open door at this stage of life...which is scary...but the young know this all to well and might we have forgotten what this is all about...growth at mid stage of life? scary as this is....some choose to run away from this....not thinking that if one stands still one can learn from it.
Looking upon this stage of shedding and filling area that have been neglected might be a good directions to head in. One might be free to grow of mind, heart and talent; free at last for spiritual growth.
The continued life cycle of change is always upon us...what we do with that counts...be it that we accept it or fight it's reality it is our choice which we freely can take or make.
I can't say enough about re reading this book at different stage of my life...each one of these stages she share relating to the shells I've almost lived through...though my home is still head strong in the Oyster bed with young adults all still living here the burdens of the busyness has lessened and allow more time for that spiritual growth for myself which had lead to growth in many areas I hadn't had time to explore.
Again a bit lengthy...but so strongly shared and strongly accepting of my place in the world today. Words interchanged from Gift from the Sea and my own....Love this book.