One of the first discoveries I made during my adventure at the seaside was that abalone shells clung to the cliffs with suction cups that fill the entire
underside of the shell. I could hold an abalone, animal side up, and see this strong part of its body. I knew that if God gave it a muscle to cling to
rocks, that muscle would eventually get tired and the abalone would fall off. I decided that God was very smart.
As I sat on the rocks above the sea, I learned a lot of great lessons from these flat, oblong shells that waves can’t pry from the cliffs.
I discovered that the abalone resemble bi-valve shells that have two sides like a clam, except that one side is missing. This is why it simply must cling
tightly to the rock—that rock actually forms its other side!
Abalone shells are scarce along inter-tidal shores and divers go out beyond the breakers to locate them. First they measure them. Next they remove them
from the rocks by thrusting a knife between the shell and the rock. This pierces the mollusk creature and it dies. Its body has no way to coagulate blood
so water and blood just flow out until the creature dies. This is the only way anyone can ever see the true beauty of the inner shell which looks like a
rainbow. This reminds me that the only way we could ever see the beauty of God’s love for us was for His Son to die. When the soldiers pierced His side,
blood and water flowed out.
The outside of the shell is covered by a skin called the periostracum. This skin hides the shell from enemies. But if it is removed, the rainbow
colors dance in the sunlight. The first time I saw this, it surprised me and I shouted, “Wow!” I realized that like the abalone, God looks better and
better as I look closer and closer.
Below are a few more shots of abalone.
All photos by Sally Streib