Long Beach life, heavens and hermit crabs

Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end
of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun.  -a Psalm

We sat on wet sand beside a cranky ocean. Caught hermit crabs in tide pools before dusk. Decided their makeshift houses gave them their makeshift lives. Then we set them free.

The rain came. A gray dome close as raised hands delivered a torrent that covered our driftwood shelter and pooled around our bedding.

Soaked. Denim stuck to skinny frames, hair in wet ropes falling outside jacket hoods. Someone had a flare, but even with that a fire was impossible and we hugged ourselves under low spruce boughs.

We shared a screw-top bottle of syrupy wine and shivered and watched a streak of dull orange return a reluctant horizon.

The dome lifted leaving a moon-shot mist, illuminating a silver-grey sea. Scattered blue dots flamed through gaping clouds.

We warmed ourselves by running across acres of sand. We jumped toward the surf, scrambled over shaley rock and barnacle covered boulders. We gamed it–and dared each other to find as many rock islands for our feet as we could; we flew farther out over the water–every successful leap becoming a possibility for one more. A body went down on the slick seaweed beside me and I hesitated. The wind was up spraying foam flecks and salt over our wet faces.

The tide surprised us and we needed a different route to make our retreat.


Safe on flat shore rocks we sat on our heels and caught our breath.

That’s when we saw the lights, a continent away, surging up and falling back like notes on a steel guitar. Marking time in troughs and swells. Looming, brooding lights. They kept us company for the night. Life bobbing on the high seas. Hermits on fishing boats.

A warm mid-morning sun bleach-dried our clothes and loosened our limbs and we slept.

The ocean woke us in the afternoon–quiet.

We looked up our tide pools and searched for our hermit crabs. We found some Black-eyes and Hairys living in an array of mollusk carapace’s. Some were on the lookout for new hermitages.

Sometimes you need to change shells–trade up.


  1. Thanks Steve, I stumbled across this just moments after we saw you. It stirs a yearning inside, but then I’m a sucker for the ocean. Still, you captured something more. Thanks.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *