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Friday, October 2, 2015

Bites not bytes

Strong northeast winds (15-25 knots) continued in Massachusetts today.  Although it was blustery, I had about an hour to spare (to avoid busy traffic), so I decided to go for a short walk on Humarock Beach where I grew up.  

Here's a view looking out to sea: 

My first memories of tidepooling come from here.  Before heading out to explore, my mother always reminded us to beware of "barnacle bites."  The rocks are slippery, and a fall would often result in scrapes from barnacles.  (Decades later, I still hear her warning in my head.)

Today I wandered out and found a few old friends:
Acorn barnacles (Semibalanus balanoides)

Dog whelks (Nucella lapillus) and periwinkles (Littorina littorea)

Forbes' Sea Star (Asterias forbesi

Around the corner from this rocky point, there's a stretch of sand and cobble.  It's mostly cobble at this time of year, but the strong winds were blowing light sand across the stones.

Some low intertidal sand was exposed.  We used to find sand dollars here, so I started looking and was happy to spot one nice example:

Common Sand Dollar (Echinarachnius parma

I made my way back between a low sand dune and a salt marsh, remembering all of the time spent exploring these habitats with family and friends.

Recently, I've been thinking about how times have changed how many people now spend more time with electronic devices than they do outdoors.  While walking the beach in the storm this morning and reflecting on my childhood, I felt very grateful that I grew up thinking more about "barnacle bites" than "megabytes."


earthelder said...

Dear Jackie ~

Your love of the natural world, your sense of wonder coupled with great yet humble intelligence shines through your photos and your commentary and lights up my world each day~~thank you, thank you!
I share your concern about disembodied "bytes" replacing the living, embodied experience of nature, especially among young folk. Still, I'm grateful to my one and only screen (this laptop) for bringing authentic information and people like you into my life!
Enjoy the rest of your visit "back home!"
Warmest wishes ~
Sebastopol, CA

Jackie Sones said...

Hi, "earthelder"!

Thank you so much for your comments -- they're very much appreciated. I, too, am very aware that this blog allows me to share pictures and information with many more people than I'd be able to reach in person. I also like the flexible format and that it's easy to tell stories and to be a bit more interactive than a book. I can only hope that it also encourages people to explore on their own -- to look out of a window, to listen to the sounds in their backyard, to go for a walk -- and to make their own discoveries and connections. If any of these "bytes" do that, then I'll be forever grateful.