Updated: Jul 30
August 4, 1961 - July 27, 2021
Photo by Susan Dimock
Throughout this summer season at Circles in the Sand, children and adults alike have come looking for Jacque, the Shell Lady. One little girl arrived with her family, a special shell in hand, looking to contribute it to a mandala of shells and stones, feathers and discs of brightly colored glass that everyone has come to recognize as Jacque’s signature. Jacque's shell art was always the exclamation point at the end of each labyrinth.
Though Jacque was unable to make it to the sand this summer, her presence has been felt, just as it will continue to be now that she has transitioned. Throughout her life, Jacque’s natural connection with people was one she couldn’t always explain. It seemed to transcend the amount of time spent together or anything really tangible. But husband James, who designs the labyrinth paths with Denny Dyke, smiles, thinking of all the visitors to their business who came looking for designs in metal and left with newfound inspiration and peace.
There was always something girl-like in Jacque. You could picture her as a child, arms winging through ocean breezes and stooping to pick up shells and dried seaweed. Jacque’s email moniker was Beachjunquie. And that’s what she was. But her real magic was one of seeing. She could understand how to bring elements together to show the rest of us the sacred wholeness within the pieces we often overlook as beach debris.
Jacque was playful, but also had a wisdom born of observation of the natural world, and an insatiable curiosity that led her to read complete books in a day. She and James shared a vision that will continue to unfold as he builds onto their cozy farmhouse built in 1908 and an acre of gardens that can only be described as a retreat center for the soul. They both have always seen the potential in refashioning old pieces of metal, statuary, and architectural elements into areas for contemplation and quiet conversation.
The best way to honor Jacque and James is to slow your own steps. Look with new eyes at the possibility around you. Find the wholeness that Jacque showed us time and time again at the exits to the labyrinths. That’s how she’d want to be remembered.
Blog credit: Donna Belt
Photo credits: Susan Dimock, Donna Belt, Bethe Patrick