This morning the tables turned and I actually was able to give something back to the ocean. We constantly take from the ocean. I am one of the biggest local collectors of Pawleys Island Shells, and even designed my company logo after these Imperial Venuses (a type of quahog clamshell). There is a huge bowl filled on my desk, and some of my friends call me a Pawleys Shell hoarder. This morning was especially fruitful, because I found an array of different colors including white, grey, golden orange, and deep brown. We take more than just the treasures that wash up onto the beach. Soft shell crab season just arrived, and the boats are out scooping them up as quickly as possible, along with all of the other ocean fare to stock local restaurants for hungry beach vacationers. When I take my trash to the dump, I know that some consumable wrapper will end up getting blown out of the compactors and into one of the adjacent rivers, ultimately washing right out into the Atlantic. Trash takes the life out of the ocean by choking off birds, fishes and sealife.
This morning was different. Down the beach I spied an upside-down horseshoe crab with his tail sticking straight up. He was huge, and reminded me of the horseshoe crabs I would accidentally step on in the water off the Long Island, NY beaches as a child. I have never seen a live horseshoe crab on the beach here in South Carolina, but when I lightly touched his shell with my flip-flop his legs started wriggling. There were several large barnacles that had made this guys’ shell their home. So when I tipped the crab over to right him and he started scooting back towards the water, I knew I had been graced with the opportunity to return these lives to the ocean. It took him a couple of tries to get past the break, but he made it, sparing him and his barnacle tenants from a full day stranded by the receding tide, baking in the 80 degree sun and exposed to the threat of being nibbled on by sea birds.
As I walked back up the beach, in its true fashion the ocean gave a gift right back to me. I saw a lone dolphin porpoising offshore, something we at the beach wait eagerly to be graced with.
As an advocate of generosity, I love hearing stories about those giving back. If you are looking for some MAJOR inspiration, check out this amazingly kind and compassionate man’s gift that has changed the world in a small corner of Los Angeles:
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