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Posts Tagged ‘stones’

The mermaid stone hasn’t seen much action these days.  With surfers riding the waves in recent years and more dogs running along the beaches, it’s no wonder that mermaids are going elsewhere to gather their thoughts at dawn and dusk.

 I, for one, would love to catch a glimpse of a siren arranging her hair while singing a haunting melody.  Even one of the mermaids’ legged cousins, the sea nymphs, would be a delight to find strolling along our shores, gathering shells.

mermaid stone
Sadly, rockweed is all that’s covering the mermaid stone these days.

 Maybe it’s all the garbage that’s dumped near our shores that’s putting them off.  Or perhaps they don’t bother visiting Cow Bay because there are fewer and fewer shells to find here.  The ones that do wash up on our beaches are quickly gathered by tourists and local beachcombers like me.

Sea Nymph by William Symonds

Sea Nymph by William Symonds 1893

 We don’t pause to consider that seashells and sea glass are the only adornments mermaids and sea nymphs have available to them when the seaside flowers aren’t in bloom. 

There are probably uninhabited islands not far from here where mermaids don’t have to compete with anyone for the treasures that wash ashore.  Seals are likely less intimidating than dogs from their point of view as well. 

I’m going to start leaving the seashells where I find them on the shore instead of taking them home.   If I take anything back from the beach, it will be the garbage I find there.  It’s not much, but it’s a first step in attracting these wondrous creatures back to our shores. 

I must be a mermaid… I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.
― Anaïs Nin (1903-1977)

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stone beach

Finding the ideal love is like trying to find a perfectly symmetrical stone on the beach.  It’s not easy.  Even with so many possibilities, the task is more difficult than one would imagine.  And the longer you look, the slimmer the odds of finding that perfect specimen may seem.  Though some might appear somewhat perfect at a distance, upon closer inspection, it soon becomes apparent that they are not quite so.

That’s not to say that it’s downright impossible to find perfect specimens. They are indeed out there, but be forewarned that many years may pass between one discovery and the next.

circular stones

Whether or not we realize it, we also search for physical symmetry in other human beings. Characteristic of good genes and general good health in nature, perfect symmetry in a mate would likely increase one’s chances of creating healthy offspring.  No wonder we’re so drawn to people with beautifully symmetrical faces.

And yet, there is a certain charm and character attributable to the not-so-symmetrical. With perhaps an even stronger  magnetism, especially where romantic love is concerned, we are drawn towards the imperfect.  Why? One theory suggests that while our minds are pleasantly calmed by symmetry, they also quickly become bored with it.  Intrigued by complexity, when faced with marginally flawed symmetry, our minds are perked and subconsciously go to work to try and figure out what’s causing the disparity.

Although the human body is symmetrical in so many ways, the shape of the human heart is not.   Could that be a clue that perfection in matters of the heart was created to be elusive?   If we are to achieve any semblance of perfection in love, like the rare round stones found sometimes on the beach, it’s only due to years of surviving the pounding waves and stormy seas.  Now there’s something to ponder as we approach Valentine’s Day.

Text and images copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2012

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Take a few minutes from your summer and make a mandala from natural materials.   Mandalas are an excellent exercise to help you focus on the moment at hand.  You may create something beautiful in the process but don’t worry about perfection.  

Depending on your intention while creating your mandala, you may construct  a sacred space in which to bring your thoughts and prayers.

Summer offers a variety of materials:  leaves, flowers, twigs and grasses.  Your palette of living colors will depend on what’s in bloom in your corner of the world right now.  Found feathers, seashells and stones may also be used.  The possibilities are endless.

You can create one by yourself, with a friend or with a child. 

Create a circular shape with your materials.  You can plan to have a set number of sections in your design or just see what happens. 

You can make your mandalas outdoors or inside.  It doesn’t matter if you keep your arrangement forever, for a day, or just a few minutes.  Mandalas are about here and now.

For more information about mandalas, see my previous post on Autumn Mandalas.

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It’s always a good time to go down to the ocean and see what you can find.  Ice and wind only make the rocks look more interesting.

Even if it’s raining, the walk down to the sea is always worthwhile because you never know what treasures are waiting to be discovered on the shore.  You don’t have to pick them up to enjoy them.  Just leave them where you find them for others to discover too.

Unless you find a stranded starfish of course.  It’s always good to pick them up and throw them back in the water.

There are so many stones, worn down and rounded by years of pounding surf.  Do we humans inevitably become like this too?  Worn down and rounded by years of worldly concerns pounding on our fragile bodies?  Look at that white stone among all the grey ones.  I wonder how it got in with the others…

The best trips to the shore are often ones when I can come ‘home with a smooth round stone as small as a world and as large as alone.’  What do you find when you visit the shore?

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea
~ ee cummings

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maple leaf mandala

Through the ages, mandalas have been employed by Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Native people the world over to create sacred spaces and focal points for prayer and meditation.

seastone mandalaOften painted, they may also be made of stone, colored sand or stained glass, such as in the rose windows found in Gothic cathedrals. Some, like Tibetan sand mandalas, possess an impermanent quality, as their deconstruction is also part of the ritual surrounding their creation.  Mandalas might be intended as representations of the universe, the unconscious self or the relationship between the inner and outer realms. 

Mine are simple creations made with natural materials found in my yard:  leaves, flowers, twigs and tree cones.  The first mandala shown at the top of this post was made from the colorful leaves of a sugar maple and a yellow birch.  The second was created on my gravel driveway from sea smoothed stones gathered near the ocean.

peony leaf mandala

This peony leaf mandala also includes fern leaves, purple asters and two-flowered Cynthia blooms.  A curled up wooly bear caterpillar is at its centre.

fir cone mandala

Above, heal-all flowers have been arranged with balsam fir cones around a mushroom centre.  The creation of each mandala gave me an opportunity to reflect on autumn’s beautiful colours and textures.  I’m thankful to live in a place where nature’s palette is ever changing and fresh.   

My mandalas will slowly fall apart, be moved by the winds or wild creatures, decay and return to the earth.  Their ephemeral quality only serves to enhance their present beauty.

Have you ever considered using natural materials to create a mandala outdoors?

 

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heart stone

Looking for heart-shaped stones on the beach is something I’d never thought of doing until recently.  Many people have collections of these.  Who would have thought anyone would consider a ‘heart of stone’ something worth searching for?

Beaches are favorite places for couples to visit.  They take long walks along the shoreline at sunset, or sit on the beach together, gazing out at the horizon while sharing their dreams of the future.   Nearby Rainbow Haven Beach attracts numerous singles seeking summer romance .  Glowing with suntan lotion, they bask in the sun while non-chalantly checking one another out from behind their fashionable sunglasses.

The shore and its pounding waves are sometimes employed by poets as a metaphor for the coming together of lovers.  One waits patiently for the other to arrive at long last from afar.

shore

But what happens when love dies and couples who walked together so often hand in hand along the sand must now walk alone?  If love can begin at the beach, could it not end there as well?

This week I found not only one, but several yellow long-stemmed roses tangled in the seaweed on the shore.  Although they were a bit frazzled by the elements, they still looked fairly fresh.

yellow rose

In the language of flowers, yellow roses symbolize the end of a love affair.  Could someone have been given a bouquet of yellow roses at the beach?  And could these have then been abandoned on the shore or thrown into the sea?  We’ll never know.

yellow rose 2

Strange how my heart beats
To find myself upon your shore.
Strange how I still feel
My loss of comfort gone before.
Cool waves wash over
And drift away with dreams of youth.
So time is stolen
I cannot hold you long enough.

~ Enya

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