Jingle Bells, Jingle Shells

Walking Rome Point beach during low tide today, Dean and I noticed lots of iridescent Toenail Shells sticking out of the sand, shiny in the sunlight. These paper-thin hinged shells belong to a small mollusk. The upper half of the shell is convex and movable, while the lower half stays fixed in place. Byssal threads, secreted by a gland near the mollusk’s foot, pass through a hole in the bottom of the shell and anchor the creature to a rock or other hard substrate. Mollusks, which include scallops, clams, oysters and mussels, are filter feeders, taking in water and filtering plankton and other food through ciliated gills – gills with hairlike projections.

Toenail Shells we found scattered along the beach

Measuring 1-2 inches, the coin-shaped yellow-gold or silvery-colored shells of this mollusk are a treasure from the sea. I knew the Toenail Shell by another, a more fanciful, name. What was it? I couldn’t remember. Oh, well. Then as we continued walking along the shore, I spied a ball – a very odd ball. It was metallic-colored and perforated with two rows of oblong holes, like a big jingle bell. I picked it up, only to discover it was a plastic wiffle ball that had acquired a tarnished gold appearance from a thin coating of algae.

Jingle Ball or Jingle Bell?

Then I realized that in my hand I held a clue to answer my question. It was as if I were playing a game of charades with some unseen team mate. Sounds like… “Jingle Bells…” Jingle Shells!

Jingle shells are a favorite find for beachcombers, often used to make necklaces or wind chimes. The shell is named for the sound made when several shells are strung together as a chime. The jingle sound is also heard when waves beat down upon beaches strewn with shells, and it is the sound of lose coins shaking around in a money pouch.

A hand full of sea treasure

Jingle Shells, Jingle Bells… The jingle shells scattered around the beach made me think of the jingle bells we had strewn around the church reception hall after our son’s memorial service, almost two years ago. The bells were a token of remembrance for guests to take home. Each golden bell was tied with a gold ribbon, the symbol of childhood cancer, and sparkly pipe cleaner twists, our family’s symbol of spirit (jingle token shown in banner up top), which has a special story behind it…

When Neil was about five years old, he opened a bag of sparkly pipe cleaners, twisted them into odd shapes and scattered them on window sills and tables around our home. It was Christmas time, and he told us he was decorating the house with “spirits.” The setting out of spirits became his annual tradition, which we continue to do in his memory.

So, is it coincidence that I had written about a “lost jingle” in my blog just the day before?… “One unforgettable character in The Jester Has Lost His Jingle is a little girl lying in a hospital bed with her head wrapped in a bandage. The jester visits her room, talks with her and tries to cheer her up. It is the most precious moment of the story.” This page is where the Jester finds his lost jingle – his ability to bring joy and laughter to others. Maybe it is just coincidence.

David Saltzman’s illustration on the book page where the Jester finds his jingle

Is it coincidence that the only other piece of plastic trash I found on the beach was a red cap? A red cap with a crown insignia on it (the Jester wears a red cap)? A symbol that I interpret to mean the jingle ball was a secret divinely-timed message from the King of Fools? Maybe it is just coincidence or it is just me finding my own meaning in something silly.

The red cap

And, is it coincidence that I posted the following appeal on facebook yesterday? “We’ve raised over $20,000 for the Jester & Pharley Phund over the past two years in memory of our son, Neil, and we’re asking for your help to raise awareness, and $20,000 more, this coming week. Please share this story, and help send the ripples of love further outward. https://wendyfachon.blog/2019/02/15/be-a-difference-maker/

Is it any coincidence that today’s story reflects the section of a manuscript I was also working on yesterday, trying to explain my spiritual practice of Story Walking?… “Story Walking is best described as a spiritual detective reality game detective reality game that leads players into mystical encounters with Mother Nature and creative Spirit. Imagine opening the front door, stepping out onto a giant game board and into a storybook life… In Story Walking, players walk, look, listen and follow subtle clues that appear, usually at their feet, to guide the action forward… Players choose where to go and which path to follow in order to get there… Players make new choices based on what happens as the game advances forward. In other words, each player writes the part of the story over which he or she has control, while allowing the rest of the story to unfold as it will, asking that it do so for the higher good of all… Story Walking is learned through the sharing of stories that provide examples of where to walk, what types of clues to seek and how to interpret codes and signs. By sharing their own personal stories, Story Walkers teach others how to engage in the mysterious game.”

And, is it any coincidence that in the afternoon of the same day, as I was taking another walk around our neighborhood block, I found what appeared to be a little coin pouch? Something to hold a red cap and a few jingle shells or perhaps something to help collect coins? If you believe in the magic of a jingle, please consider giving $10 to The Jester & Pharley Phund , so that the Phund can send the Jester’s joyful story to a child facing a serious life challenge.

A pretty pouch

Storywalking for Inspiration

The trash I find while out walking inspires much of my writing. Because of this, my husband named me the Storywalker, and we refer to this creative process as “Storywalking.”

For example, yesterday, walking to my yoga class I found a Pokemon card, featuring Vanillish and an Ice Shard attack. Vanillish? Villainish! The card was stiff as ice, with bits of dried leaf plastered to it, masking the face of the character. I tucked it in my pocket.

Further down the sidewalk, I noticed a small liquor bottle, called a nip. On the label was a character that looked like the Devil and some words. The “RED HOT” nip once held some Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. Cinnamon? Pokemon. The Inside was a frozen flash of crystallized water.

What happens when a Shard attack meets a Fireball attack? Poof! A lot of steam! Our son, Neil, used to collect Pokemon cards and play the game with his friends. Unfortunately, Neil was attacked and completely taken out by Cancer last year. Poof! I pulled the Pokemon card out of my pocket and showed it to my yoga teacher as I checked into class. She commented that the leaf fragment covering Vanillish’s face was shaped like a heart. I took off my sneakers, hung up my coat and went into the studio.

As I left yoga, I pulled the card out of my coat pocket. The leaf fragments were gone. They had effectively melted away, revealing the hidden character of Vanillish, a cute smiley composite of ice cream and ice crystals, shaped like an ice cream cone. Sweet! I hold my angel, that sneaky silly cool little devil, forever in my heart and mind.

Captions, starting from top left and spiraling clockwise: Sneaking around cloaked in dead leaves; looking cute and innocent; hoarding sweets with a vampire’s sweet tooth; smiling faces; smiling his way through the last Halloween of his life here; ever ready to engage in battle.

Learn more about After Death Communications (ADC) from Psychology Today. Our angels and muses are there to inspire us.