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Wednesday, July 30, 2014


The first time I ever noticed a conch shell was when I was three: It was on the floor near the fireplace in my grandparents’ dining room. Oh I touched it a lot and thought it was beautiful but had no idea what it was or where it came from. To me it was a thing of beauty and mysterious. The colors of it were intoxicating.

And I will never forget my grandmother telling me that the conch shell came from the ocean. Well that didn’t help me understand it because at that time I didn’t know what an ocean was nor had I seen one.

“What’s it do?” I asked. “Just it just sit there?” “No” replied my grandmother “It’s magic.” “Magic?” I asked. “Magic.” And she put the huge conch shell up to my ear and told me to listen for the sound of the ocean. I heard it and was wowed even if still I didn’t know what an ocean was at all. “I love that sound” I told her. “It’s the magic of the conch shell” she whispered.

I was caught so many times picking up that conch shell and listening to the magical sound. By the time I was seven or eight, I realized that it wasn’t the ocean sound at all—it was sounds of what was around me. And that inflated my belief. I couldn’t believe it was true and yet I knew it was.

Forward in time and I must have at least four conch shells in my house. And what do I do with them aside from looking at them? I put one to my ear and hear the ocean—for the childhood magic of that shell will always be with me.

And why not believe what my grandmother said? Magic is where you see it or in this case hear it .

Sherry Hill
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Sherry Hill
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