A Protective Shell

Something happened in the wee hours of the early morning that had awoken all of us who were sleeping straight out of our dreams. My son was tossing and turning clearly in anguish and we were left scrambling trying to diffuse the energy in the room that was relentless in it’s pursuit on all of us. What spirits rise when the rest of the world is tucked safe asleep is the very same monster that comes alive every time we decide to take a break and close our eyes.

I am sure the two events were not intertwined even though in a way it was determined that they had to be decidedly so. What I saw when I came into the kitchen was a shock that my eyes weren’t quite ready to see. You know somehow I acquired these hermit crabs. A project between father and son has now fallen onto my shoulders and for the most part I don’t mind they don’t take much work. Maybe some simple understanding but I as human don’t understand how a crab and a human can come together to simply just be.

First off I have two crabs. My baby and the senior who just marches around the place. What intrigues me is that I had four at one time but trying to recreate a terrarium for them is not for the faint of mind or even heart. Sure it looks easy. Throw in some sand and some dirt and add in some pools of water and voila! Right? Not so much. I wish it was that much but there is something more scientific and environmentally that we can ever hope to find out or even know.

I love humans when they tell me what they know about living beings like we don’t somehow evolve or change into something entirely that another life form doesn’t have a chance to know. Think about how we age and mature and how we deemed it appropriate for sexing our young ins to be the first of things to go. I will never forget the nurses at the ICU when they delivered me that morning, asking my husband what we would like written down on our son’s birth certificate. You know there is an option to put U as unidentified but as far as I remember it should be the thing that has been found hanging between their legs. When she asked me if that was what I wanted I looked at her and asked her if that was what she honestly could think. If my son was born a boy I will honour him until he is old enough to tell me that he wishes that he was born another way.

There we are again trying to fit a square peg into a circle like we are the be all end all to all infinite beings. What I saw was my crab out of his shell drying out, all grey and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was something I had done to make him that way. I could tell he was scared because with every shadow that crossed over his body he would flinch in the hopes that it wasn’t a predator and he would find time to get away. Most will say who cares it’s just a crab throw it away and try it again but my heart doesn’t beat that way.

I knew the larger crab was up and moving and if he came across the exposed tiny crab a fight with tiny daggers might ensure. K no tiny daggers but I think you now know the picture so I cleaned any viable open shells I could find and put them around him in kind of a ring. I even cleaned his tiny shell because crabs are known for hoarding food. I was cautious of the moisture and temperature controls of his habitat because I didn’t want him to dry out or even get too hot or cold.

I don’t know why it bothered me so much this little simple puzzle piece that is their life. Sometimes they outgrow their little moving habitats or maybe there is a fungus or irritant that has somehow gotten in the way. Whatever it was I was racing against the clock. I was scared for what was going to happen even though I had no idea what it all could possibly mean. He looked scared and unprotected as he retreated into the dark and the dirt maybe looking for his home.

I am a weird life form this I already know. Fully integrated and connected to all the life forms that had come here before. I don’t look at any other living being and think that I am entitled to more. I don’t know what all this fighting is about I never cared for evening out the score. All I wanted was to live simply and happily with the animals that have made their way into my care. This is what it means to come alive and be living when the rest of the world is content in being so unconcerned and always behaving so cold.

I want all life to feel important even if they are small as a hermit crab. What I see is that they have a desire for life that only the living can. As his grey body just sat there barely moving I wondered if his time had finally come. I didn’t take a picture or video because even the smallest being deserves a little bit of dignity in their final days. I am not sure what is going on because wouldn’t you know it I am not a crab all I can do is ensure that his habitat is safe and in livable conditions in order for him to prosper and leave out his best years.

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