Thursday, July 12, 2018
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When I was a kid, "Nautilus" was Captain Nemo's submarine in a Jules Verne novel. I knew that because (No, I didn't read it.) Walt Disney put it on TV. Then "Nautilus" became the name of an early nuclear submarine launched by the United States. But not too long ago I saw a nautilus while we were at Ocean City, New Jersey. It wasn't a submarine. It was the original nautilus; the little sea creature with the fascinating shell. We actually saw a lot of nautilus shells in little shops. We bought one for our living room. It's real smooth on the outside, got stripes on it, and it's bigger than my hand. Now, to me, the nautilus shell is shaped sort of like a big, shiny human ear, and maybe we could say it's like an unborn child in the womb, if you can picture that. The original inhabitant is gone, of course, but his fascinating shell-house remains. When you cut a nautilus shell in half, it reveals the life story of the one-time inhabitant. At the center is this circular chamber with a wall around it. That was the original home of a little bitty nautilus. There are circular chambers all the way to the outer edge of the shell, and each chamber is a little larger than the previous one. That little sea creature kept outgrowing his shell, so he left it behind and moved on to the next chamber-and chapter-of his life.