molting

I am growing
My shell hurts
It hurts it hurts!
I cannot shed it
I try and try and try
I fight
I seek allies and help
I fight
One year, two years, nearly three

I’m free
My shell suddenly releases and slides off
I can feel my soft body expand
To my real size
Bigger
Joy!

Oh!
They’re attacking!
Why why!
My brothers! My sisters!
No!
Your claws hurt!
They are cutting me
Ow ow stop why!

I run
Scuttle sideways
Soft and clumsy
Hide
In the mud

Why why?
Oh, my wounds ache
Stabbed
By multiple claws
Deepest pain
In my heart
At this betrayal.

I hide
I sit
I think

It was so hard
To shed my shell
Why would they attack?

Oh!
Their shells hurt too!
Their words
They were grabbing me
To try to see how I’d shed my shell
They were desperate
Oh they must be in such pain!

Can I forgive them?
Do they know not what they do?

I hide
I sit
I think
I heal

My shell is strong now
I am bigger

I will go forth
And see who is trying to shed their shell
I will try to protect the newly molted.

Anomiidae

Walking the beach with a friend a couple of mornings ago, I keep finding shells with a dark marking in the center of the interior and nice shiny interior. Then I find a shell with the other half attached. The other half has a hole in it.

I look it up. This site comes up: http://www.bily.com/pnwsc/web-content/Northwest%20Shells.html. Wow. We filter through it and the shell is in the family Anomiidae. Specifically Pododesmus macrochisma, aka Green False Jingle. It attaches to rocks or other jingles or whatever through the hole. Then it disguises itself. The outside of the shells I found was diverse, some with barnacles. I found a young one, pink, and the radial ridges are visible on the shell.

Cool! Next I tried to identify the two different kinds of chitons. Uh-oh. There are LOTS of chitons. I run out of air very quickly. I will save the chitons for another day. I also returned two sea cucumbers to the sea. The second one scrunches up when I pick her up with a piece of seaweed. When I put the second one in the water, she relaxes. The first one was probably already dead.

shellfishie

This is a beach but not the ocean. We were on Chesapeake Bay, the Western shore, three days ago.

For Memorial Day, this takes me back to my paternal grandparents’ house, on Topsail Island in North Carolina. The two small black items are fossilized shark’s teeth. As the water erodes the shore, the fossils wash up. My grandparents walked the beach every day and as kids we learned to hunt and spot the shark’s teeth. The white tooth has been replaced by black stone. They are shiny and that curved pointed shape stands out with practice.

My skills returned on the Bay beach. We found other fossils: a fossil dolphin tooth, fossil coral, fossilized bone and wood. The sand and sky and foliage and shells are so different from my Pacific Northwest beaches.