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Things and Stuff and Horseshoe crabs

Yestereday I took Sabir to the park, and the beach of the horseshoe crabs. He does not like to go into the water, but he likes to dig in the sand, and he likes to watch the gulls and geese.

The park was designed by Calvert Veaux, the same guy who worked with Fredrick Law Olmstead to design Central Park. This park is not as big and fancy as Central park,of course, but it is well used. There are always people on the running track, or playing tennis, or having a picnic.

And there is a lovely view of the Verrazzano narrows and the bridge.

Here is a link for those who like them.


I have written about the park before, I know, and about the horseshoe crabs which I love. I did not see any crabs in person yesterday morning. I did not expect to. I did see the first huddled daffodils, green spears only, looking like people who got off a bus in the wrong town. But I went out onto the sand and found something wonderful.

It was the print of a crab, at the tide-line. She came ashore at high tide with the equinox, to lay her eggs in the sand. She is early, I did not see any other prints. In June there will be hundreds. And she was HUGE! Maybe 15 inches across the carapace. I could see the marks of her many legs, and the long line where she dragged her tail behind her. At that size she might be 20 years old. She has been coming to that spot to lay her eggs, where she herself hatched, and her mother, and her mother's mother. I wish I could have seen her.

Mike and I have made a point of going out in June to help the ones who get stuck in the sand. If they get too dry, or the sand is too soft they can get in real trouble. You have to lift them gently and put them back in the water. That long scary looking tail is for unsticking themselves, but it does not always work. people who don't know any better are sometimes awful to them because they look so frightening. They think the tail must be a stinger or something. And the scrabbling legs underneath are kind of startling. I worry that kids will hurt them. They are fragile out of the water. The park has put signs up saying they are harmless and important, but I worry anyway.

Went back this morning, but the moon and tide were wrong now. Nobody had been. Sabir did see some Russian ladies feeding the seagulls bread. He was eager to be fed bread too. But we hurried home after that.

I really like the way nature has not caved in totally to the humans who are doing NYC. There are plenty of wild plants and animals still. There is a family of opossums living under the Coney Island boardwalk, (on the beach side of the spit, opposite the park.) They have made it through the winter, mild as it was, and now they can spend the summer gorging on discarded ice cream cones, and an endless supply of Nathan's hot-dogs. There are raccoons, and muskrats. I have seen those. There are turkey vultures too, across the water in Bayonne. And all down along the Jersey highways which must be like an all you can eat buffet for for them. (They favor New Jersey, perhaps for that reason.) And there are fish and sharks off the beach. I see people fishing. I would not eat the fish from here myself, but I am ridiculously picky about fish. There are deer too, up in the Bronx, and coyote, foxes and even beavers. I have never seen any of those here. It makes me happy to know that they are out there.

I feel as if I have been away from real writing for a long time. Somehow this winter my fiction fell sadly off. Not sure why. It is so easy to let daily life get in the way. Easy to loose the trick of making a clear place in my head to see how the words need to go. It is hard work for me, and I am terribly lazy. I am now trying to get into the right habits again. You guys will be able to see if it works. If I write anything decent at all I will put it up.


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 24th, 2016 06:52 am (UTC)
It's amazing to think of that crab coming back for the best part of 20 years.
Mar. 24th, 2016 04:29 pm (UTC)
I wonder if her water is better or worse than it used to be. Certainly there is a lot of debris in the water near the shore, but I think NYC has done an overall clean up in terms of toxins, (with some notable failures like Gowanus.)
Mar. 24th, 2016 07:31 pm (UTC)
Certainly the water has improved a lot here in Sydney. There are still signs warning not to eat fish caught west of the harbour bridge (and to "limit" eating them east of the bridge), but I think now I might actually live to see the day when the signs are gone and the harbour is clean again.
Mar. 24th, 2016 07:19 am (UTC)
I loved reading about the horseshoe crab, and hope you can share some photos in June. I wonder what Sabir will think?
Mar. 24th, 2016 04:26 pm (UTC)
I will put up pictures. And I will keep watching for the ones that try to beat the rush.
Mar. 24th, 2016 10:56 am (UTC)
I am so envious of your horseshoe crabs. wonderful creatures.
Mar. 24th, 2016 04:27 pm (UTC)
They are really great.
Mar. 25th, 2016 09:37 am (UTC)
horseshoe crabs - great !I loved reading about them too.Here we live on a hill between the actual coast and the marina - a head land separates them.Round the corner we can hear curlews and the first cormorant has found a home in the marina.The cormorant is a good sign as it shows there are fish there to be had :)

They have just built a new life boat station below us and i go for a walk there on a good day and they have turned the old dockyard into flats and a nature reserve.We see lots of dog owners there which is nice when one does not have ones own !
I love to picture you and Sabir at the beach :)

meanwhile on writing - I have been so slack too but just wanted to say what you do post stays the same high quality as ever and is always a delight
Mar. 26th, 2016 02:46 am (UTC)
Today we rearranged our living room. I took the desktop desk and made it face the wall. I feel that this will lead to less distractions when writing. I faced into the room before. Now I will not be distracted by seeing with my eyes, So maybe that will lead to more writing happening.

I am going to try to get something small and silly started this weekend.
Mar. 26th, 2016 11:42 am (UTC)
Awww = I am fascinated by whether facing the wall will help- hopefully it has some inspiring pictures on it or can have ?

and it made me think of the Kipling poem 'smugglers song ?!!

I will see if I can do an Eglantine version !
Mar. 26th, 2016 02:08 pm (UTC)
If the gentlemen go by I am totally turning around!

On the wall I have the little bag that Katriona made, with the boys getting drunk. And I have the woodblock for Hazel that you guys sent me. And I have a a few other things too.

I hope the wall will help.
Mar. 26th, 2016 10:13 am (UTC)
Ah what I lovely post! It's such a treat when you write about the creatures you meet, you have such a good eye for animals and nature and a gift for capturing them in words.

Like you, I love the way that nature finds its own niche in the city, it's always there, just underneath the skin of concrete, breaking through where ever there's a crack or an opening. Urban wildlife is wonderful. I'm particularly fond of the foxes we have here. There are no foxes on the island where I grew up so seeing them lounging around in my garden still gives me a thrill, and by and large, they seem to keep a wary truce with our cats.
Mar. 26th, 2016 11:45 am (UTC)
basking foxes are always good
basking blackbirds also (though not so with cats of course)
Mar. 26th, 2016 02:12 pm (UTC)
I have never seen a fox, ever. I did see a coyote once in Walden Woods. I think the foxes must be very few and shy.
Mar. 26th, 2016 02:18 pm (UTC)
I don't think there are any foxes on the Vineyard either. I do know that they exist all over the East Coast here. I don't think they are actually indigenous, but were brought over early and settled in pretty well.
Mar. 26th, 2016 02:27 pm (UTC)
I know there are foxes in the city here. I would be thrilled to see one. There are none on the Vineyard, as far as I know.

They are not indigenous to the US, but were brought over early and settled right down.
Mar. 26th, 2016 02:27 pm (UTC)
My comments are all ending up in the wrong place today. Please see below.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )