Wandering Shells

As I prepare to return to sunnier climes, I recall the last time I wandered about the world… and laid shells (instead of stones) along the Camino:

Wandering Shells

Stones piled high on cairns

For atonement or release.

Shards of loss and tearsIMG_7507

Imprinted on pebbles.


Like a forgotten lover’s flower pressed into

The pages of a novel

As if these stones could carry

The combined weight of

All the world’s dreams and grief.


I too place stones

Not on the path, but

On the gravestones

Of my forebears

My momentary presence

Tangible proof that I Was There


But, I Am Here

In a place outside

Time and space

Far from my ancestral

Sanctuary of stones.


I carry shells.


Gifts from distant seas

Transported from

One end of the earth

To the other

Like gems chosen for migration

To parts unknown


Surfacing unexpectedly along the way

Hidden in landscapes on foreign ground

Intertwining with indigenous finds

Grass, rocks and mud.

Echoes of voices

Songs from afar

Embossed into swirls,

Helico-spirals and cockles

Buffeted by winds and rain


Over time

Calcified by the sun,

Or swept away,

Lightning whelks

Vanish into good earth.IMG_7328


Even among snips of frost

Purple grapes or

Leaves of grass,

A good rebirth.


Absorbing unfamiliar vibrations

From new surroundings

Tucked into the bark of a eucalyptus tree

Or nestled into the folds of a toadstool


A chestnut, removed

From its casing

Replaced by a snail shell

Incongruous in its difference


Set into the beach

At the end of the world

Does the prickly shell

Long for its sea of birth?

Does it pine for the lapping waves,

The granules of sand,

The low tides of home?


    1. I wrote bits, jotted down ideas of images and phrases.. but it all came together after I’d been to the beach. Definitely, there were times that I felt suspended outside of both, removed from.. !

  1. oooh, Amit, this gave me a tingle (that’s a good thing btw!) as I read it I glanced over to the basket of shells I have close by, all gathered from the beaches of Bali. I love the idea of leaving a trail of shells…..so very you. Beautiful.

    1. Ahh, I see you too understand the significance of keeping shells nearby! I feel that shells hold an energy and soul that gets transported via tides to the places they need to land at… a new home.

  2. We cross so many borders in a day, invisible lines, that shells and stones can help us mark the intersections–and chart new maps that create new homes. Perhaps?

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