The Hermit’s Shell

Once there was a hermit who lived in a giant shell on a tiny island. And each room in her shell was connected by a central spiral staircase. As she got older, her shell grew taller with more rooms being added. And she always stayed in the newest room at the very top where she made herself a new bed out of kelp and a table and chair made from pebbles. Whenever there was a storm and the sea covered the island, her shell stayed put because it was so heavy after all those years of rooms being built. And when she got older than anyone else alive, her newest room in the shell overlooked the clouds that drifted over the sea. And if she wasn’t in her new room, she was visiting the other rooms where she felt as old or as young as when the room was built. On her last day, she spiraled out of her shell for the first time since she began building it and sat on the beach to feel the water on her toes and looked at the sunlight bouncing off the water until her last nightfall. And she laid back in the sand and saw millions of shells twinkling in the night sky before she went to sleep beside her own sparkling shell with the final thought of the greater part she had played by doing what had come so naturally.

Wood Shavings

Once there was an old woman who swept the wood shavings from the floor of a young carpenter.  She brushed the shavings aside into a pile before scooping the pile into a basket. The floor had not one shaving left on it for the next day.

In the morning, the young carpenter would come in and work all day and not think about the shavings spilling all over the floor because they would disappear by tomorrow.  The old woman thought nothing of what the carpenter made because every day new shavings would appear for her to sweep.

The young carpenter saw people as wood for the making, but the old woman had already been made long ago and now saw people as they were: not as the woodwork but the shavings from the woodwork meant to be swept away.