Posts Tagged ‘seashell’

Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs us so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers like the homesick refugees of a long war… Mostly the animals understand their roles, but man, by comparison, seems troubled by a message that, it is often said, he cannot quite remember or has gotten wrong… Bereft of instinct, he must search continually for meanings… Man was a reader before he became a writer, a reader of what Coleridge once called the mighty alphabet of the universe.
~ from The Unexpected Universe by Loren Eiseley


Rainbow Haven at low tide

Rainbow Haven at Low Tide

Despite differences in sand colour and texture, the presence of pebbles, stones or rocks, all of the earth’s beaches have a similar effect on humans.  Times converge where water meets the shore.  These are places where long buried ideas and memories are dug up and future dreams loom on the horizon.  

Even people unaccustomed to spending time in nature warm quickly to the outdoor experience offered by the shore. Whether the day is bright and sunny or misty and overcast, a walk along the beach puts one into a detached frame of mind that is above and beyond the day’s weather forecast. 

Some days we might look at what’s drifted ashore with the tide or pick up a shell to examine more closely.  Tidepools are full of interesting creatures.  The Blue Mussel bed at Rainbow Haven beach is always a great place to find rock crabs, whelks, starfish and moon shells at low tide.   Much in nature (and life) can be taken for granted unless we patiently give it a more careful look.   

On other days we might look out at the seascape that encompasses the shore, sea and sky.  When searching for new meanings to life’s events and purposes it’s often helpful to step back from the details and take a good, long look at the big picture.  Few experiences put a sparkle on the day as much as witnessing a sunrise or sunset at the beach. 

Each stage of life seems to present us with a quest for new meanings and purposes.  Though these may be hard sought and won, they can also easily be washed away by the tides of time.   It’s best to not leave too much space in between visits to the shore. 

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Northern Moon Shell

It may seem odd to be finding seashells in the snow, but a couple of days ago, I found a Northern Moon Shell while walking along the Salt Marsh Trail off Bissett Road.  It was cracked, most likely by a seagull that had broken it open, either with its bill or by smashing it on a rock.

Moon snails are carnivores that bore their way into other seashells such as clams using a rasplike tongue.  If you’ve ever picked a clam shell on the beach that has a small, perfectly circular hole in it, it was likely eaten by a moon snail. 

The live body of a moon snail is surprisingly large and covers most of the shell when it’s on the prowl.  The shell itself can be up to 7 inches wide.  Seagulls probably consider them well worth the trouble of cracking open, as their meat would provide a hearty meal.

Northern Moon Shell with shells showing bored holes

Northern Moon Shell with shells showing bored holes

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