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02 August, 2012


Eye-stalks Pointed at You.
I'm blessed with a child eyed to nature, backed up by her heart. She catches creatures sometimes, especially as she walks tidelands, and immediately feels compelled to treat her temp-prey as best she can. Maybe just letting it go back to its nook after a look. Or, if her guest is invited for the day, a bucket of sand and rocks, seaweed in water that she aerates regularly, attempts at feed. Nurturing while finding out: What does it eat? What's it do? What many other creatures can coexist with it?

This week, she scouted up crabs and grabbed a sculpin on a broad south Salish sandflat. Sampled sea lettuce and found worms haplessly headed makai toward salty death, as well as other worms  dug in an awaiting filterage, and then still others capable of search and destroy missions in molluscan-land. She saw sea-shells galore before the naturalist pointed them out, and I could see that in addition to her scarcely suppressed eye-rolling at bio-geekery and volunteerism in general was a recognition (and more durable and sensible catologue-ing than I can muster) of knowledge that the guy had to offer. Even though it's a pretty safe bet that this guy has not held a barracuda, wolf-eel, deer-mouse or any other vicious predator in his hand (as she has, of course) the kid absorbs. Someone who can both find and learn, trudge the tideflat anew and keep an ear out for previous learnings, can make an osum scientist, if that's what she wants to do. 

And maybe she will. Meanwhile, she can find certain crabs cute and others creepy, and refrain from eating any of them. She can guide her youngerling, the sister seven years newer, the next capturer of creatures. She can eye things I may (and do) miss: that seaweed-colored-fish, the best combination of container-sediment-flora-fauna-detritus-light for a temporary habitat, or her own direction in life.

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