On Sunday I peered into Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado and discovered a surprising exhibition open free to the public. It was the San Diego Shell Club’s amazing West Coast Shell Show!
There were so many beautiful shells covering table after table it blew my mind. Every shell, I noted, was unique and interesting, and many that I saw seemed like exquisite works of art. Nature’s abundant beauty was spread throughout the room. It seemed I had blundered into a vast treasure of spilled jewels.
When I walk along a beach, I like to search the sand for bright or colorful objects washed up by the tide. But I honestly know next to nothing about shells from molluscs on land or in the sea. So I learned a few fascinating facts during my short conversations with a friendly hobbyist and a dealer.
Among other things, I learned some shells are highly prized for their rarity and apparent perfection, and that a few can fetch many thousands of dollars. I also learned there are relatively few serious shell collectors worldwide. But those who have a passion for shells have a hobby that promises new discoveries at every turn and inexhaustible wonder.
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Early this morning, while it was still cool outside, I headed up to Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. My intention was to take a brisk hike around some trails near the old Adobe Ranch House. But then my eyes encountered California sycamores along one trail. And my camera came out. And then the sun came out. My hike slowed to a walk. With many long pauses.
Beautiful photos frame and emphasize the infinite beauty that surrounds every one of us. Taking such photographs does make one pause. And love life.