Thursday, July 12, 2012

Horseshoe Crabs

I was going to title this blogpost Why Do Bad Things Happen? and go on as I am wont to do about my cervical vertebrae and facial muscle spasms that so contort my face my children draw portraits of me askew, but I realized the more mysterious question is not why do bad things happen, it is how is it that horseshoe crabs have been around since the Triassic?

These animals with long institutional memory are chopped up for lobster bait. Today I feel a lot like lobster bait. There is a whiff about me of low tide, and ancient memory. 

One summer at my grandparents' farm on Miles River of the Chesapeake Bay the moon and the tide must have been just right because hundreds of horseshoe crabs crawled up  from the depths into the shallows and my grandfather called us all out to watch them as they lay their eggs. We shined flashlights on them and gawked. Monsters. Dinosauric.

The next morning there were many dead. Their carapaces clicked and rubbed against each other as they had the night before, but this time it was different. If we had been smart, as smart as the Native Americans who plied this particular piece of land long before my family, we would've gathered them all up, and laid them on the fields.

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