|Credit Ron Croci|
Here was a large sea cave, about 30 feet high and a hundred feet deep. The bottom was an enormous tide pool with clear calm water gently washing back and forth. This was Magic. The walls were dripping wet, and shimmering with silver light from the reflections of the tide pool. All over the walls crabs, snails and many large bug like sea creatures were running in all directions then stopping to stare at me with their eyes on the ends of long stalks. The sound of the waves in the distance echoed off the walls. The real treasure though lay at my feet. The water in the tide pool floor was about twelve inches deep and completely covered with Sea life. It was as though I stood on top of an enormous piece of jewelry totally encrusted with every kind of jewel imaginable. I got down on all fours and stared. Sea Urchins, tiny Eels, Star Fish, lime green Sea Grass, Snails, Crabs, little fish, and most things I didn’t even know of blanked the bottom. I waded into the icy water and was beside myself with delight. I grabbed in every direction. It was as though I wanted to embrace the whole pool. My Dad was a ways off but keeping an eye on me. It was safe in there and he knew it, so he let me play around and amuse myself. Well, amuse myself I did. Sticking my fingers in Sea Anemones and watching them close. I tried to catch little silver fish that were like swimming shards of glass. Then to my amazement I saw a little Octopus. It was only six inches wide as it sat on a seaweed covered rock changing colors.
I spent the afternoon there among the sparkles and reflections, absorbed in all the colors of red, green, purple and black, turning over rocks to see entire colonies of living wiggling creatures. It seemed there was no end to it. Then I looked up to see my Dad peeling blue and black shelled mussels from the rocks. We went home after that and cleaned the four inch mussels and put them into boiling water. After several minuets they opened up and I could see their orange flesh. We dropped the muscles in hot butter and lemon juice. Their salty marine flavor took me right back to that cave of jewels.
I have returned there many times and have always delighted in observing the life in this shimmering grotto. This story has no moral or dark tale of redemption. Nothing weird really, just a wonderful experience a twelve year old boy had as he realized for the first time the power and beauty of the Pacific Ocean.