Reflecting on Monsters….

Warnings abound as Hurricane Sandy approaches landfall, expected to bring heavy rains and gusting winds from Boston to Washington, DC. In the rolling hills of Virginia, we may even see our first snow. Some are calling this the ‘Frankenstorm’, perhaps because the worst weather may arrive on Halloween. So I was drawn to this amazing art by my friend Jeanne. There are so many layers of meaning in this one image that I hardly know where to start. Both the nautilus and the hurricane are spirals, yet she chose to place the big, scary image in the background. The storm is fades like a ghost while the nautilus takes center stage. Bernoulli called the shape of its shell the spira mirabilis, Latin for ‘miraculous spiral’. The nautilus is born with seven chambers, and grows a new chamber every lunar month. The creature rises by filling the chambers with gas and sinks by filling its chambers with water. Although the shell may appear fragile, a nautilus can withstand water pressures to depths of up to 650 meters, or about seven football fields, below the surface. By comparison, scuba divers can safely dive to only about 40 meters. We see this miraculous spiral again and again in nature, in the nerves of the human cornea, the patterns of sunflower seeds, the shape of a hurricane, the arms of a galaxy. Perhaps it is easier to embrace the tiny miracle, the shell we can grasp in our hands. It’s a whole different story when the same miracle reaches across states, or worst yet, across the void of space. We are tempted to turtle in, to succumb to fear, rather than allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and trust in the Author of Creation. We limit ourselves to what we can see and hear alone, rather than considering the greater truth is often found when we work together. Take time today to ponder the miracle of creation. Look for the patterns that repeat again and again, in the most unexpected places. Share what you see with others, allowing them ot see the world through your eyes. Ask for their opinions before offering your own. Make space to sink and rise, to float above the mania that seems to pervade our days. And always remember, even the scariest monster, looming in our closet last night, may simply vanish like a shadow in the light of day. Text by Connie Chintall ©2012, Art entitled ‘Fossilized Nautilus Shell Spawning Hurricane (Chaos Theory)’ by Jeanne Mischo ©2012, to see more of her work, go to


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