My feet sink into the wet sand, the waves make a rhythmic music. The cool, salty air refreshes my lungs. Clam shells, seagulls, seaweed washed on shore, fill my eyes like tiny treasures telling great tales.
Tide pools are a joy to appreciate now that I live near the shorelines surrounding Whidbey Island. Double Bluff is nearby, I can see it from my house if I stretch my neck. At the point, just before the large rock are smaller rock outcroppings are surrounded by orange sized stoney beach area where the gulls like to dine.
It's here where all the stones are close together that colonies of aggregate anemone fill the sand. These anemone are not as showy as the ones I found on the Pacific Coast Shore last year. In fact, they are small enough that I didn't notice the little tentacles until later when looking at my photo's like the one below.
Now that I know where to find them, the next day I set out to the same beach at low tide. With my camera used like a magnifying glass, I can discover the tiny creatures that make these beach walks a joy.
Barnacles are on everything and everywhere on the beach. They are little creatures too, not just hard bony inanimate objects. They attach themselves head first onto a rock, build a shell around them and when submerged in water stick out their back legs to catch food.
Inspecting the barnacles more closely, I see small green things, smaller than a quarter of a finger nail. Tiny snails revealed by the zoom of the camera, and possibly predators of the barnacles showing a world in a world of sea life.
This alone, the tiny snails, is enough to make my day. On the way back to the car from this little heaven of salty rock life, I look again, at the underside of a large rock and see another type of larger snail. These critters are all crowded together, about as large as a thumb joint.
This reminder of tiny worlds is a refresher course in my mind of the wonder that is life everywhere in unexpected places and spaces. I have seen a few new things on the beaches here, and there is still so much to discover and to learn about. The most exciting thing, is the feeling that the child inside is stirring, waking up and seeing the world in wonder.
Happy exploring what's under your rock, in your own backyard and waiting to be discovered.
Update: The tiny snails are called checkered periwinkles, they eat algae and also have algae (the green on their backs) growing on them.