Alive On the Beach

By Jac

I have always loved the west coast beach, and this past week I got to visit my sister and her family on their oceanfront property just outside of Duncan, BC. While I do love a soft-sand, drink-in-hand, book-reading beach vacation, when I’m with my kids I’d rather be at the kind of ocean shore that requires shoes because there are too many barnacles for bare feet. There is just so much to learn and see and do when the beach is covered with seaweed and seashells and rocks, and just seems totally alive.

It is the aliveness I was enjoying a few mornings ago, down at the shore. A group of kids, my own and my sister’s, were playing behind me, and I was wandering through the seaweed, thinking about the salt water as I walked. I was thinking about how crazy it is that it’s so deadly for humans to drink but so full of nutrients for millions of other species, who in turn provide nutrients for us (cooked and doused in butter, preferably).

I bent down to pick up an empty clam shell. It no longer housed the creature who first used it, but it was covered in live barnacles and seaweed and as I picked it up, a tiny crab fell out. All that life on the ocean shore, recycling and repurposing, surviving and thriving, is just so cool.

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As I was pondering how alive everything is, I heard my daughter’s voice pierce through my thoughts. “Mommy, we cut a dogfish open for the crab trap and threw its guts into the ocean, but we could see it’s last meal still in it’s stomach, because there was a whole fish still in there! So we cut it open too and threw it in the ocean.”

And then, on my other side, I heard my nephew talking to my mom: “Grandma! We put two crabs together to fight, and one of them is dead now! DEAD!”

On second thought, I guess not everything is alive on this beach.

Cousins, probably preparing for the crab wars.

A huddle of cousins, preparing for the crab wars, I assume.

 

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