Taking photos has taken me out of doors much more often and kept me alert for interesting things to photograph.  I find myself taking new routes to and from work and pulling off the road when something interesting or unusual catches my eye.

This exercise in paying attention has the side effect of feeling playful and fun and has me noticing small details that might have escaped my gaze otherwise.

Yesterday’s walk on the beach was a bit different than usual.  We had started off for a hike, but a detour changed our plans and sent us down the road to where my husband lived in college.  We found a parking place (never easy in beach communities) and headed to the beach. We met very near this place many years ago when we were both undergrads…and walked this stretch of beach on the evening we met.

As we walked we noticed the changes on the beach and in the buildings along the shore.  Temporary lifeguard towers have been replaced by permanent buildings and some modern designer homes have replaced beach cottages.

The sun was shining, but it was cool and breezy as we walked.  There were still the die-hard sun worshippers tanning in their bathing suits along with dog walkers, joggers, and other beach strollers like us.  Kids played in the water and dug holes in the sand.  Sandpipers feasted and seagulls squawked as the bombardiers–the pelicans–cruised the skies above.

And then we saw it.  Nestled between some rocks on the sand was a butterfly-shaped shell. And I had to stop, get low, and capture that unusual sight.  Perfectly shaped by the sea’s tumbling waves, the shell was smoothed with its original curvature creating the illusion of wings in flight.

butterfly shell


Butterflies are amazing creatures, light and airy, delicate and beautiful.  It’s hard to believe that they begin as caterpillars crawling on leaves and end up winging their way through the air.  Butterflies always feel like good luck to me, representing life and bringing life as they pollinate plants they visit on their travels.

This butterfly, carved by nature from a shell, seems to celebrate the long-term, complex, and happy relationship my husband and I have shared since we met that evening when we were in college.  It represents our growth, our ongoing evolution as a couple, and the freedom we feel together.  And maybe it also reminds us to be playful, to continue to explore and to learn, and to enjoy the moments.

The butterfly is resting on a shelf now…reminding us…

11 thoughts on “Butterflies

    1. kd0602 Post author

      Definitely! And my photos work as prompts of sorts for my writing. I never quite know where a photo will take me when I begin writing.

  1. Mallory

    Dear Mrs.Douillard,
    When I started reading your post I thought it would be all about butterflies you saw on a walk or something, but I was very surprised to find out that the so called “butterfly” was a shell!!! That little butterfly would be very special to me if I where you!! Its a very pretty shell!


    1. kd0602 Post author

      Thanks Mallory. It is very special indeed! (And became even more important once I started writing about it…writing does that!). Have you ever found something special like a butterfly shell? Or something that once you wrote about it, it became even more special?

      Mrs. Douillard

  2. Emily W.

    This shell comes from an animal. I found it today, but I don’t know what it’s called. There are multiple similarly shaped shells that form a hard protective spine. That’s an awesome photo of one! I like the shadow too. I wish I could find what this animal is called that these shells come from…

  3. Mary Gurries

    This is a very old blog post, I know, but I found an identical shell, and while trying research what kind of shell it is I found your photo. That’s so cool!

    – Mary in California

  4. Lori

    I found several of these last weekend on the Oregon coast of Depoe Bay. I’m curious what tire of sea life or shell this is??


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