The Shells of Le Homme Dieu

The Shells of Le Homme Dieu

The little green cottage holds many treasures. The shells of Le Homme Dieu are one of them.

It’s become an anticipated tradition; pant legs rolled up, cool water lapping at our legs as we slowly comb the shoreline in search of gold.

Gold is relative.

You have to look deep to see the gold; squint beyond the grimy, slimy and smelly exterior of the large, empty snail shells that make their journey toward shore once their purpose has been served.

For years I’ve been curious about how they get there. What’s their story? I finally searched for some clues.

Mystery Snails. Yes. Perfect.

The DNR website shares…

They are mainly found in lakes and in slow moving rivers. They are called “mystery” snails because in spring, they give birth to young, fully developed snails that suddenly and mysteriously appear. After reproducing in their fourth year, they die and their shells wash up on shore.So, we find the treasures, likely in their fourth year, floating toward the shore of the little green cottage. Their life cycle hasn’t ended there. To my sweet babes – it’s just begun.

With nets and buckets, we collect the shells. We balance on slippery rocks risking a reach juuuuust beyond our comfort in pursuit of our target. Their capture is met with squeals and an ongoing tally is kept.

The seasoned shells spend a day or two marinating in snail soup, soaking and stirring the layers of years away to reveal their hidden beauty.

Within hours, the most beautiful natural hues emerge. It’s a representation of the beauty that lies beneath the exterior of anything – anyone. Look beneath the surface to find the gold that lies within.

This year we tried something new. We added color to their neutral pallet. My Little Lady sat on the dock at her homemade art desk in the shade, with paints in every color smudged in glorious piles on the Tupperware lid pallet in front of her. She chose brushes in various size and styles for the perfect effect. She hummed away composing new songs, oblivious to the world around her. Always singing a song, that one.

*Once the shells were dry I gave them a light clear coat for a polished finish and protection against chipping. We’re kind of in love with these.

May you always have a shell in your pocket and sand between your toes.




  1. All my loves, my daughter, my grandbabe and my lake thank you……..

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