Where I live on the coast in North Carolina, I am fortunate to have easy access to multiple bodies of water – rivers, intracoastal areas, and the vast ocean with its beautiful beaches. These natural wonders offer us a multitude of activities to enjoy, such as fishing, swimming, boating, kayaking, shelling, and my personal favorite, hunting for sharks’ teeth.

As I stroll along the beach, searching for these precious treasures, I find myself with ample time to think and reflect. It’s fascinating to ponder the origins of these shark teeth and why they are found in some areas but not others.

Upon conducting some research, I discovered that sharks’ teeth are considered fossils. When a shark perishes, its teeth sink to the ocean floor and become buried in sediment. This sediment acts as a protective barrier, preventing oxygen from breaking down the teeth and allowing them to be preserved. Over time, the teeth absorb minerals from the surrounding sediment, causing them to darken in color.

Unlike our own teeth, sharks’ teeth lack roots, making them prone to falling out easily. Sharks possess multiple rows of teeth, and when one tooth is lost, the teeth behind it shift forward to take its place.

Many of the shark teeth I have found come from Onslow Beach, including the largest one in my collection. During my first two summers in this area, I observed others searching for shark teeth, yet I dismissed it as akin to hunting for unicorns. Prior to that, the only place I had seen shark teeth was in gift shops. Walking the beach and embarking on the quest for these elusive treasures has reminded me of an important lesson about approaching our projects and goals.

First and foremost, we must avoid becoming so fixated on a singular objective that we overlook the broader context. Hunting for shark teeth demands that my gaze remains fixed on the ground, but I must consciously remind myself to look up and appreciate the encompassing beauty that surrounds me—the vibrant colors of the ocean, the crashing waves, and the joyful families enjoying their time together. Likewise, in life, it’s crucial to periodically shift our focus and be open to other opportunities and alternatives. Let us not become so engrossed in one pursuit that we miss out on something greater.

Persistence is key. There are days when I stumble upon numerous shark teeth, while other days I find none. However, I refuse to give up, knowing that the next search might lead me to a truly exceptional find. In life, we must embrace persistence as a valuable tool in our arsenal. There will inevitably be occasions when we encounter unforeseen obstacles or complications while working on a seemingly straightforward project. By persevering through these challenges, we increase our chances of success and ultimately reap the rewards of our efforts.

Every single shark tooth I discover holds its own unique beauty, with an assortment of sizes and colors. Each tooth was once essential to a shark’s survival. Just as in nature, if we take a moment to observe our surroundings, we will realize the inherent beauty and diversity that exists within humanity. We come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, yet each one of us possesses inherent worth and has something valuable to contribute.

So, the next time you find yourself grappling with a difficult project or questioning your own value, I encourage you to remember the valuable lessons I’ve gleaned from hunting for shark teeth. Keep an open mind, seek out alternative solutions and new opportunities, maintain unwavering persistence, and above all, recognize and celebrate your own unique qualities. Additionally, find someone who will support you and help you uncover your true value.

Embrace the journey, and may you discover the hidden treasures that lie within both the world around you and within yourself.

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