The Flotsam Remains

A crawdad headed for the sea.

In the late afternoon I went for a walk on the beach as the tail end of the storm was blowing through. There was a wide assortment of debris and trash washed ashore along with a few other oddities. A cooler, propane gas tank, bike wheels, golf balls, toy dolls, lighters and plastic of all sorts; the usual sort of garbage that is as much a characteristic of the beach in the age we live as the stones and sand.

An inch and a quarter long canine tooth that was probably from a dog, but might have been from a seal. There was a rotting cow foot. Different sorts and sizes of starfish were washed up all over in the gravel bars along the water’s edge and there were dead spider and rock crabs everywhere. Gulls were feasting.

I only saw two lobsters, but there were nearly as many crawdads all up and down the beach as there were dead crabs and many of them were still alive. Somehow they had survived being washed out into the ocean, tumbled through the stormy surf and then pushed ashore at high tide. They were crawling back to the sea along the sand flats at low tide as if headed to a river. They looked like baby Maine lobsters.

I saw a few large dead toads, as well, and one turtle. He looked dead. His legs were fully extended out of his shell and his head was lying on the sand with his eyes closed, but when I poked him he slowly moved. I put him in my pack and walked up the beach to the creek he came from. I set him up lying halfway in the water under a log so he was hidden from the birds. He actually seemed to revive a little after being washed in the muddy water a few times. The creek was flowing like chocolate milk into the sea and it filled the air with the pungent odor of humus.

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One Response to The Flotsam Remains

  1. Lp says:

    Which beach? You really get to see the impact of the rains after a storm like that when you walk the beaches. I remember as a kid walking the beaches of Santa Cruz and seeing all the hug tree trunks that had been carried down the slopes and out to sea after big storms. It was amazing for a little kid to see the results of nature’s fury up close. Thinking that just the day before those trees were standing tall up on some mountain far from the ocean.

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