Sunday, August 25, 2013

Life on a beach

North Cape May

This was last evening.
This is our bay.
This is the sunset.
If you look carefully, those are dolphins.
Small fish were breaking the surface just a few feet in from the edge of the water.
I waded out to see them, but the glare of the sun kept them invisible.

Atlantic Ocean tide pool, Stone Harbor Point

This is a hermit crab living in a shell made by a moon snail. 
The moon snail is dead, but its shell is still useful.
Our shores are littered with the stony carcasses of countless beings.
We collect shells because they are beautiful.
Maybe we collect them to remind us we're alive.
Those are my fingers.
When I die, my skeleton will last long after the flesh has been consumed.

Delaware Bay, North Cape May

This is a moon jelly.
It is an animal--it eats to live.
I pass by thousands every summer, dead and dying, jewels on the beach.
More beautiful symmetry in a dead being.
A moon jelly is as evolved as you and me, and every bit as alive, when it's alive.
And we'll be every bit as it is when it's dead.

If I can get a child to see a piece of the unimaginable vastness of life outside the pixels that define most human lives in these parts, I'd have earned my pay. 

Where in the biology curriculum can we find the living?

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