Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memory Lane

Calvert Cliffs
These crumbly cliffs of sedimentary rock filled with fossils were a beloved destination of my childhood. I once found a beautiful great white shark tooth here. Other times we sifted and pored and found nothing. Last time I brought the kids they did not find any shark teeth, but at 2 and 4 they were certain their shell fragments were teeth. Now they knew better and I hoped this time the sands would yield their most prized treasures.

On this trip the 1.8 mile walk to the beach passed faster, or maybe slower, but more interestingly than it did in my childhood. For one thing, I no longer take the mountain laurel for granted.
When I was a child we trudged the sandy trail to the beach through an unremarkable pine forest. But some years ago beavers moved in and dammed a small creek. Now the area is a wetland teeming with life.
Frogs abound.

As do lizards

and snakes

and unusual bees

and dragonflies

and turtles

Just when we caught this turtle a young couple was passing by.
Do you know your turtles? I asked. We'd never seen a turtle with the little hedgehog nose of this turtle. And you never know what people will know.
The woman cocked her thumb and her partner.
"He does."
He took a quick look. "Musk turtle."
Glad I asked!

The old pines stand dead in the water, or lie down across the water, that is the ones that the beavers haven't carted off, leaving only their pointed stumps.

And there was honeysuckle growing in profusion.
Later I remarked to my friend of 34 years that it was so great to see the kids doing the things I had done as a child, eating honeysuckle nectar, pulling sea nettles out of the water, hunting for shark teeth at Calvert Cliffs and not finding any.
For those that don't find any this guy has set up shop on the road across from the park.
But we didn't need him. Persistence at last paid off. Our finds, like the memories of childhood, were small but precious.

Three shark teeth, three crab claws, one barbed skate tail, and three skate crushing plates.


Kristin said...

The photos in this post are fantastic. I like hearing about your past and seeing the present with your daughters in it. I think it's a skink, not a lizard.

patricia said...

Oh, what a beautiful thing, to see your kids enjoying places that you once enjoyed. And how perfect to get some nature time mixed in with all the history spots. You planned that well!

Stefaneener said...

So very very cool.

What a lovely encounter with the turtle.

This seems like a nice break in your trip.