Island, Tuesday 19 July, 2022
I floated off — beach, by the — resort. A rectangle of yellow foam floats quartered off a section of shallow water for us bathers.
It was early. I was alone.
I swam to the outer reach of that salt water quadrangle and caught the float rope. It was slick, festooned with sea plants. The floats themselves were faded and speckle-cracked by the sun. I tried to turn one and found a forest world on its underside.
Seaweed, trailing fronds, soft grasses, vegetable trumpets, soft coral mounds, slippery squirts, sparkling sponges, pale barnacles and … one crab scuttling swift from the float’s rope hole, across his little world, and to the safe side opposite the giant swimming mammal.
I returned to explore, paddling a wallowing board. Each float was its own little world, each forest slightly different, each hole home to one crab, green and yellow with whitish specks.
I returned to the beach and rested in the gentle waves, sifting sand through my hands. Grains of granites and quartzes and crushed pieces of shell and, once, a tiny, perfect shell. The bones of a little snail who had felt fear and hunger and pleasure and contentment in its small snail way, and now there sparkled his tiny polished shell, between my fingers with the sand, to swirl away in the surf.
Just like each crab had its little suspended forest, its float and its hole and its rope. Each crab enjoyed the currents, tended its garden, lived and gloried in its world. Half pale sun-yellowed, half greens and blues waving in the waters under the float. A little world, so permanent to the little crab.
Just like each little human, each in its automobile shell, its bed and screen and roof house, its vast life circle a narrow thread upon the skin of our eggshell world.
Just like all of us alive on our pale blue dot, forests, fronds, fields and flowers, insect colonies, cats, computers, and cultures. A world basking, a goldilocks in her zone.
Ah, scuttle crab, wise scuttle crab.