Beautiful Brokenness

Beautiful Brokenness

October 02, 2018

©2017 Jani Bryson
 
Shells are like people.
 
When unbroken,
they are hard to distinguish
one from another.
 
The beautiful uniqueness
is camouflaged
by the perfectness.
Pristine wholeness
is fun to admire
for a moment,
but it lacks the character
that catches attention,
that causes deep study
and the desire to know more.
 
When life's harsh waves
break pieces from a shell,
the remaining shapes
have delicate character
and each resulting shard
has its own meaning.
 
When the irritants of sand
wash over and over
the broken edges of a shell,
like salt in a wound,
they soften the shattered-ness.
They round the sharpness.
 
When scavengers attack,
or barnacles attach,
without permission,
stealing
bits and pieces for themselves,
they leave
intricately patterned scars
that define
the fragmented shell.
 
When the tough outer crust
is slowly broken down
with a barrage of salt and sand,
a beautifully colored sheen remains.
And, the brilliance
of color and pattern is unveiled.
 
These forces,
whether mildly irritating
or at times extremely brutal,
are what write
the unique
and individual stories of the shells.
Each chapter a gift in disguise.
 
Often,
the beauty of these broken shards
is enhanced by the way
they've settled in the sand
together,
complimentary colors and opposing textures
juxtaposed in the sunlight,
so that they are extraordinary,
not in and of themselves,
but boosted to greatness
because of those they come to lay beside.
 
Sometimes,
the accumulated rust
from periods of stillness,
and the collected moss
from the shade of solitude,
beautifully stain
the skins and souls of the fragments,
forming a magnificent patina
of introspection.
 
Repeatedly,
the tide takes them,
hurling head over heel
out to sea,
only to carry them back again
to rest
and dry on the shore.
 
At times,
they become trapped
in a tide pool of isolation,
but, with patience,
the tide returns,
bringing the energy of activity
and the diversity of life
to rest with them for a bit.
 
The very being of the shell
is therefore carved
from the relentless external forces of life...
an earned texture
that may suffer obscurity
until day is nearing end
and the long shadows of evening
reveal poetry
in the hardened hills and valleys
of the weathered exterior...
when the golden hour
illuminates the dormant hues of existence
with a warm bath of glowing light.
 
With shells,
as with people,
it is then
that we may come to understand
the undeniable beauty of
brokenness.


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