Monday, September 13, 2010

The Ancients are Dying

The giants among the horseshoe crabs are washing ashore -- I found 8 or 10 ten today that were 10 to 13 inches across. Which means they are the ancestors, 50 or 60 years old, their shells are like ancient bronze that turned deep brown, almost black, not green. I lay them among their much younger kin. They are dead and I rescue them as if I were walking a battlefield. I put them on higher ground among the youngsters. It is sad to lose the young ones who have not lived out a full life; but it is sadder still too lose the ancients, the ancestors -- The whole species are ancestors. They were floating in the seas when the dinosaurs were roaming the marshlands.
I was happy to see my dear old odd duck had been joined by ten friends -- well, others of his kind. I thought of my anthropomorphizing habits and remembered that when I read books by scientists who study primates or elephants or lions, they name their subjects -- not with numbers but with descriptive names. Then I thought the books I've read have been written no purely as scientific theses but as popular science and most of them have been written by women. Are we females THAT emotional? Well, yes, I think we are and what's wrong with caring about other creatures? Caring even about dead horseshoe crabs? No apologies here. And ducks -- of course!
No, I do not get emotionally involved in the lost lives of the inhabitants of seashells. There is a limit to my empathy, I must admit. But the beauty of the colors and patterns always delights me. The textural patterns, the slick insides and the crackled shells are a contrast only Nature does so brilliantly.

I met a man and dog on the beach today and remarked, "I think we have a few more weeks for walks." He answered, "I try to walk all year 'round. I bundle up in the winter." Isn't it wonderful how a chance comment by a stranger can be inspiring? Perhaps I will bundle up and continue my walks even in the cold. But I do think I require a little sun.


Marie aka Grams said...

Beautiful post, with lovely photos. You are lucky to live in such a place, with so much unique life forms.
(I've heard it said, "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.") Bundle up and enjoy.


June -- To witness the demise of all those lovely crabs is moving. Do you know why they are dying? It would be interesting to know why this is happening. Your post was wonderful -- I always feel the essence of your walks in your writings. Chance words can change you. I believe a refreshing walk in the winter would expose one to a bit of the natural world you don't see in the other seasons. Following it up with a good hot drink in a comfortable chair at home would really top it off nicely.

June Calender said...

A very good idea, Barbara, I'll take Marie's advice and bundle properly ... I hope the pleasant weather will continue for at least a month, maybe two.