On the beaches of Vancouver were scattered hundreds of iridescent, opalescent purple shells. From a distance, they looked like shards of the sky deposited by the purplish sunset. Close up, you could see the delicate violet gradations and subtle shades.
They attracted me, so I picked them up and collected some in my pocket, and took them back to the room where I was staying. I envisioned handing them out to the friends and family I’d see the next day.
But, when I looked at them the next day, they were dull and chalky. Taken out of their environment, they lost their luster.
In the end, I returned them back to the beach, where they could once again soak up the color of the sunset.