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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Irritated (11/08/12)

TITLE: The Legacy of the Pearl
By Loren T. Lowery
~2nd Place


A millennium ago, salt-misted winds from a yet unnamed ocean, battered a small mountain range along its eastern shores. Tropical undergrowth and canopied trees, lush and protective as they seemed, did little to abate the erosion of the mountain’s crust.

Millimeter by millimeter, bits of rock shattered and calved away from mountain. Fragmented stones became pelting showers that descended into streams that grew into liquid sandstorms. Smoothed and refined in the crucible of the swirling waters, the sand was emptied along the shores of the ocean.

Here, lapping waves curried the sand deeper into its bosom where it lay undisturbed but for centuries of lazy ocean currents and trek of meandering sea creatures.

It was here, in this peaceful dunned landscape, that mollusk later arrived and along with it a name for the sea of their ancestry, the Pacific Ocean; and later still, the valley of their home, the Sea of Cortez.

One such mollusk, a Silver-lipped Oyster - away from the cluster of its clinging brothers - found a safe haven beneath the overhang of a rubbled mound. Here, in the green, brine-filtered sunlight, it formed a hinged mantle around itself where bits of food would slip between its two shells to feed its delicate organs. It did not have eyes, but could sense light, as a flower would sense light, and close its maw when danger portended in fleeting shadows.

In its sheltered isolated cove, it felt a kinship with all life sharing its watery world, as well as, an affinity to the unseen sea above itself - flying terns, and crying gulls.

But it did not know of man, the creature who had named it. Nor did it know of man’s unique powers to deceive, corrupt or destroy.

Once, by chance of a Yellowtail flipping its pectoral fins on the sandy floor of the oysters’ home, fate for both a man and mollusk changed. Here on the bottom of Sea of Cortez, a tiny bit of sand, calved a millennium ago from the gray-greened mountains to the east, found its way into the oyster’s maw.

In the delicate tissue of the oyster, the sand became an irritant; and to protect itself, the mollusk quickly began to cover the sand with layers of nacre – a substance of itself. And the oyster grew; and as it grew, the layered nacre inside its muscle grew. For twenty years, layer upon layer of nacre coated the grain of sand until a large, iridescent black pearl was formed.

The oyster did not know of the worth hidden within its cavity, it knew nothing of rarity or of beauty – or of man’s greed for both. It knew only of cowering from shadows, filtering food and creating that which would become corrupted only by man’s lust – a pearl.

Now, above the oyster’s dim, brine-lit world, a loin-clothed man in a boat ties a rock around his ankle and tosses it into the sea. It falls within feet of the oyster’s home and the man - feet kicking, eyes searching - soon appears. Silver bubbles begin to rise and veil the landscape. Shadows dart and dance and the oyster flinches in defense.

In moments, it is grabbed and raised above the ocean into a foreign yellow light. It has no ears and unable to hear the excited claims of the man who holds it; neither the reason it has been ripped from its refuge.

The man pulls himself into his rig and raises his prize triumphantly into the air.

But God is not the author of calamity…

An eastern wind hisses across the blue waters. White-foamed waves peak and break. Terns wing in circled frenzy and gulls gather in flapping hoary clouds of thunder. The man’s boat rocks; he bends his knees to sturdy himself, his catch still raised in his hands. other.

Suddenly, a gull sweeps down and with spread talons steals the prized mollusk from his hand. The man clinches his fist in swearing irritation. But, his epitaphs are swallowed in the wind. Diluted and lost words as the oyster is dropped by the gull back into the safety of the sea.

But if the man were to ponder his loss more fully and consider the true legacy of the pearl, possibly his wound would be less raw. He would have found what the oyster had found in dealing with its own irritation – something that had made it to be so prized by man. Irritants healing balm is but a substance found within himself.

Accept Jesus as Your Savior Right Now and be Certain of Eternal Life.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/15/12
I really enjoyed how you put this important lesson together. The end where the bird snatches the oyster had me smiling and nodding my head in agreement.

The beginning may have been a tad slow for me as I'm more of the type who wants the conflict shown immediately. However that is just a personal opinion because I know of many others who prefer to have the back story and the details, and descriptions right away.

You did a nice job of writing on topic. Though there have been a few stories about pearls, I think your POV was different and unique. The ending had my mind racing to all of the ways God intercedes in our lives and yet like the oyster we don't exactly know what is going on. Good job on this well-written story.

Joanne Sher 11/18/12
The language is beautiful and the message so needed. Masterfully crafted and told.
Bea Edwards 11/22/12
Beautifully written and extraordinary in your descriptions. But best of all it all led to the profound 'one liner' ending your work of art.
Beth LaBuff 11/22/12
I always know that when I read your words I will be transported to a place so tangible, I can touch it. The progression of your story was amazing. My empathy with the oyster led to despair when he was plucked from his home. Needless to say, the ending was very welcome! Then, what a message! Super congrats on your Editor's Choice award!
Olawale Ogunsola11/22/12
Lillian Rhoades 11/23/12
Now I know why I could not develop my "pearl" idea. It would have paled in comparison to this beautiful, descriptive, well-crafted article.

Danielle King 11/24/12
This is truly amazing writing. It has everything. Smoothe flow, beautiful imagery and a great message. A big congratulations to you!
Ellen Carr 11/25/12
This is beautifully written. Just getting around to reading the winning entries rather late, I loved reading yours. Congratulations on your well-deserved 2nd place.
Myrna Noyes11/25/12
"Salt-misted winds," "green, brine-filtered sunlight,"--amazingly descriptive words and phrases in this lovely piece, Loren! Hearty congratulations on your 2nd place E.C.!! WAY TO WRITE!! :)