Lightning whelks – Program notes
When viewed from the top of the spire, and then tracing the helix from the edge into the center, the lightning whelk shell spirals clockwise, not counter-clockwise as do almost all other snails in the world. Because of its association with the cycle of the sun, life, and death, the lightning whelk, a sinistral spiral, was sacred to southeastern Indian people. For them, the sinistral spiral represented the daily path of the sun and traced the direction of life, from birth toward death. Thoughts and concepts about the cycle of life are universal and have existed as long as we humans have. The particular connection of this human concern with lightning whelks was a source of inspiration for my composition. This composition was written for and premiered by violinist Miranda Cuckson and NUNC.