Saturday, 12 November 2011

Conch in pen & ink

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is silent. Today's doodle features my family conch shell. I'll get to the family part in a bit.

First of all, this thing's massive. It's nothing like the dainty, thin conch you might buy as a souvenir in Hawaii (and I know that because we also have a souvenir conch from Hawaii). It's thick, it's heavy, and it has layers almost like a sedimentary rock. It also has a hole drilled partially through it (I imagine the "partially" part was because the thing is really thick) so it could be hung on a nail. The side that was facing the wall is abraded smooth in places, because it hung for a long time that way. The rest of it is beaten up and scarred from a lot of years of abuse.

The shell is about a hundred years old, or probably more. A shell from an animal that lived a silent life in a fairly silent world (well, compared to ours). An animal that's been silent for a long time even if it could make a noise, and now its shell sits silently on a shelf.

The irony here? My great grandmother used it to call the men in from the field for meals.

A silent animal's shell prized for its carrying sound. I find that kind of neat, actually.

There's another part of this story that I find mainly confusing, though. I know for sure that my great grandmother used the shell, because my grandmother witnessed it every day as a child. The thing is... this was in Southern Alberta at the turn of the last century. Land-locked Alberta at a time when travel wasn't exactly easy and definitely wasn't cheap. How exactly did it get there?

No one I've talked to has the remotest idea.

The conch, of course, is silent on the subject.


Cindy D. said...

Love the write-up! Wouldn't you also like to know what secret things this silent witness has seen through the years? Great post. :)

simplyred said...

A very nice drawing! I remember the first time I heard someone use a conch shell as a horn. I was shocked that it could be done!! And I never figured out how to do it myself.

(Ms.) Ernie

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