I can stop any
time I want.
If you have spent a good amount of time on our beaches, you might have an addiction known as CSD,
Compulsive Shelling Disorder. You can’t blame yourself, it’s a disease that creeps up on people slowly.
One day you have a small dish of shells on an end table, six months later you find yourself frantically
stashing bulging gallon Ziploc bags of shells in a corner of your closet. For every shell hoarder there is out
there who sees a free treasure from nature, there is a spouse or family member who just sees another
item to dust. But that’s what shells are - free, beautiful gifts from the great beyond, meant just for the
person who saw them first and bent down to pick them up. One man’s calcium deposit is another man’s
treasure, as the old adage goes.
Gasparilla Island shellers all have their own special spots, and they’re a bit like fishermen when it comes
to disclosing where those spots are. One doesn’t simply ask an avid sheller where those “numbers” are.
It doesn’t matter anyway, because unless you’re up at the intergluteal cleft of dawn you won’t get those
good shells anyway. These shellers live by the tides and the weather reports ... they can smell a front
coming when it’s still in the Bay of Campeche.
They can see a scotch bonnet on the sand at
daybreak from 300 paces.
In the times we live in, beach walking has
become more and more of a necessity. Taking
time outside to see the sights, smell the smells
and hear the sounds is very important, whether
we realize it or not. Science has proven we
become more in tune with our humanity when
we practice “earthing,” or walking on the earth
with bare feet. The ground on which we walk
hums with energy and speaks to us ... but when
we always wear shoes it’s very hard to hear its
This year, make sure to keep a pact with
yourself to do a little more earthing and a lot less
sitting at a desk, or in traffic, or at the computer.
Be present, be good to yourselves, and please be
kind to others.
14 GASPARILLA ISLAND January/February 2019