Friday, February 13, 2015

Sharp Edges and All

I've had this image sitting in my inbox for about a year. Other items get deleted or shuffled into various folders, but somehow I can't get myself to delete this one. Maybe it's because I love this little guy beyond words. I see this picture and I want to laugh and cry at the same time. Because he couldn't find what he was looking for. Yet that didn't stop him.
It's not ideal. It's not what I wanted. But it's home, and I'm going to make it work. Sharp edges and all.
That's what I imagine him thinking. It reminds me of one of my all-time favorite lines of poetry, shared to me many years ago by a dear friend:
I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.
The hermit crab doesn't feel sorry for himself as he searches for his perfect home and comes up empty-handed (or empty-pinchered?). He has no concept of self-pity. He simply trucks forward and stuffs himself into the closest approximation of "home" he can find, then lives out his little life as if he has lost nothing.

Someday when I grow up, I want to be as resilient and gutsy and strong as him. Forget my other New Year's Resolutions. This is the one that matters:
I vow to be a hermit crab stuffed in a broken piece of bottle. 
On an unrelated note, this song came on Pandora in my classroom the other day.

I've heard it before, but this time it sort of paralyzed me. I get to school early--about an hour before school starts--and this is going to sound weird (and probably inappropriate), but there's a certain feeling of intimacy I get when I'm in my classroom alone. Maybe it's just because the room is so crowded and bustling and overwhelming throughout the day, so to sit there in the still hours of the morning and hear the hum of the heater and the faint rustling of the just feels so tranquil, that calm before the storm. I keep my doors locked, and I listen to music while I prepare for the day. If it's a fast song I'll dance like no one's watching ('cause hey, no one is). But if it's a song like this one, I freeze, and I end up leaning back against a desk or staring at the ceiling, too moved to move.

I'm such an emotional sap, damn it.

*searches for glass-bottle-shell*


  1. Aww, little guy. ^_^

    Being in the classroom alone sounds really nice, actually. I think it's one of the reasons I stay up so late sometimes. Everything gets so quiet. I probably need to live a little bit in the country. :)

    The first time I heard that Lifehouse song, some years ago now, I burst into tears. So much emotion, you know. ^_^

    1. I'm so relieved to hear that this song made you burst into tears! Okay, I guess that's not a very thoughtful thing to say. But it means I'm not the only emotional sap effected by it.

      I know what you mean about staying up late Krystal. I wrote a post about that a long time ago, remarking on how I loved the intimacy of late-night hours (into the wee hours of the morning) I loved sitting in the dark on the kitchen floor scooping up some peanut butter and thinking about others out there in the country who might be awake, doing the same thing and feeling the same way, and how I felt almost a kinship with them. And then my sister basically said I had a waaaaay romanticized view of insomnia, and when she can't sleep, her reaction is basically "Shit, I can't sleep. This sucks." So...yeah. LOL. I guess if I have work the next day, that's my reaction too.

  2. Jo, I don't have nearly as hectic of an office as you do, but I have always done this. Sitting in the quiet before the day begins... it's almost like meditation!

    I love that song.

    As for the hermit crab, I think that this was a fitting read for me, but I don't see anything wrong with that poor crab continuing his search...? Why should he settle for the broken bottle top forever??

    I get the sentiment behind not feeling sorry for oneself. But we have self awareness for a reason.

    Just a deep thought for today.

    1. Almost like meditation" is a perfect way to describe it Mel!

      It's funny, I wasn't thinking about your situation when I wrote this post, but now that I re-read it with that in mind, I can see a pretty strong connection.

      Why should the crab settle for the broken bottle top? Because there was a reason that he found it. Think about it. What are the chances that a bottle would break in such a perfect way that it would form the perfect shape and provide the perfect space for him? If he sticks with the bottle top, he might discover that it's better than a shell; that its sharp edges offer even more protection than that of a shell, that the smooth glass is even stronger. Yes, over time other shells might look more flashy and appealing, but this sturdy piece of glass is ultimately what saved him when he needed to be saved. So the question is, why should he "settle" for one of that many ordinary shells out there, when fate has given him something far more unique, and enduring, and individualized especially for him?


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