Ida blew through here, and took a good chunk of the coast with her.
Leslie and I walked down the beach to see what we could see (every one of our walks is different).
I found an old, male horseshoe crab turned upside down at the edge of the bay, digging its tail into the new sand, trying to flip itself back over.
This is an unremarkable story for most, but it mattered to me, and it mattered to him.
Finding a live horseshoe crab is a rare event in November. The fellow has descended through a few million generations of similar critters, and here he was at my feet.
I come from a much shorter line of humans (though the horseshoe crab and I have both been evolving for through the same few billion years). A few decades ago, my family left Ireland; horseshoe crabs abandoned Europe millions of years ago.
Through happenstance, I got to play with a distant cousin of mine.
If you think of life in terms of individual organisms, each with meaning, well, you'd be paralyzed--each step you take destroys life, each step you take makes life possible.
Every time I clean my pond filter, thousands, maybe millions, of critters die.
Every time I walk through the grass, I kill innumerable creatures.
If you imagine your own life is something special, more special than anything else, you're in for a bit of a surprise in the next few decades. Even you, as special as you are, are finite.
If you extend this specialness of your own life to all of God's critters, you may end up angsty sitting in a dark room, afraid to move for fear of hurting a fly. Eating becomes an act of betrayal.
You may as well be dead.
If you transfer this feeling of specialness to life itself, recognizing the joyful party that must end for each of us individually, but which will continue so long as the sun keeps shining, well, welcome to the party.
Humans are not the only organisms that feel fear, that feel ecstasy, that feel life. I have no idea what the horseshoe crab felt as it was lifted into the air, only to be gently set into the now gentle waves of the Delaware Bay.
But I know how I felt.