Spring Tides in Salty Water
Chirping and singing fills the air,
Tides peak on the border of a shoal
Beach grasses protect the Dolly Varden–
A crab that moves toward the muddy land.
It has a light colored shell covered with red spots and they are darkly outlined.
This is why some refer to it as a calico crab.
Remaining hidden with a thin rippling layer of water across it
At the low point of the ebb,
Here the water is so glassy,
And every detail is revealed.
Crystal clarity to the very bottom,
A little school of minnows flickers like silver sparks,
Bigger fish wander in along narrow passages and between the shoals.
Beds of Sunray clams rest in the deeper areas with whelks preying on them.
Crabs swim and bury inside the sandy bottom.
Life comes out of hiding with horseshoe crabs and a toadfish that hides in
A clump of eelgrass with neat black spirals and a banded tulip shell.
Others glide rapidly with a clear track in the sand,
Minute plant cells are a principal food of each new generation.
Pea crabs and ghost shrimp are alive, too.
Many of these effectively deceive the human eyes by being covered with seaweed.
As the tide ebbs away,
Great whelks are exposed and they glide across the surface in search of clams,
Microscopic plants are gathered inside as seawater streams from their bodies.
The stone crab is their enemy with a massive purplish body and two brightly colored
Claws; they lurk in caves and among the jetties with the rocks.
Gulls seize and carry channel whelks away,
Then, they drop them on a hard surface and the shell shatters,
Their treasure is recovered leaving behind bits of shell.
It is a world of force, change,
And constant motion as the sand acquires new sea creatures
From the heavy pounding surf.
–J. E. Cook ©2014