Saturday, May 26, 2012

It's that time of year....

All along the east coast of the United States in estuaries like Long Island Sound and Chesapeake Bay, during the month of May horseshoe crabs come ashore to deposit their fertilized eggs in the sand.  In the top photo above, the larger female in the front of the pack is being pursued by multiple smaller males who would like a chance to be the lucky father.  Yesterday afternoon, the kids and I visited our local beach, in what has become a sort of annual pilgrimage to see the the horseshoe crabs.  We used to see them every year when we lived in the Bronx and the kids would occasionally, accidentally uncover their small green eggs while digging to build sand sculptures.

I still feel awe every time we visit the ocean and I don't take it for granted that I can drive for fifteen  minutes to the beaches in my city: to watch wildlife, swim, comb the beach for treasures and listen to the waves.  As someone who grew up in Michigan with its Great Lakes, I could always appreciate the immensity and beauty of big water. But, I don't think I ever saw or felt the ocean until a trip to Florida when I was maybe ten years old and I didn't see the Pacific Ocean until I lived in Costa Rica when I was nineteen.

 Every time we go to the ocean I see something new.  Yesterday, it was low tide when we arrived at the beach and we found a lot of live oysters and slipper shells that had washed ashore.  Many of the oysters had what looked a larval form of some creature attached.  Jove is holding a clump of oysters below.  We haven't been able to figure out what it is yet.    Clue: they are not oyster spat (juveniles), which was my first guess.  Any guesses??  We threw it back in the sea after snapping this photo so they oysters could live on.

Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.--- Rachel Carson