Rockpool World

The beach today

A spiky forest left behind after a high tide. What must it be like to have two totally different lives – standing tall and drying in the air, and then to feel weightless and float and flow under water….. I suppose we all have different lives rolled into one….

I so loved getting down low and sitting with this scene this morning. On the surface, a small rock pool, a few randomly strewn pebbles and some winkles glued to a rock…not so my friends! Look closer….there is a battle ensuing here. As I watched the winkles all want to be at the top of the rock, but gang warfare appears to be at play and the smaller dark ones are not allowed up – not sure if it is a gender battle, or a family clan battle, but it is a battle – look at how the ‘losers’ are all huddled together at the bottom: United in their position….it makes me want to find out all I can about the humble winkle.

Did you know?

Winkles are small gelatinous bodies that graze upon algae on the rocks; miniature cows or goats of the rockpools, inching their way along, feeling their way with one foot and limited vision through two protruding eyes.

They are skilled architects, secreting an outer protective layer around them and thus creating their protective shell – a twisted cone; a frozen cape thrown about their body as a shield. Some build left-hand twists, and others right-hand spirals. Like a tree, each twist of the shell indicates the age of the winkle, each ridge marking a time measured in moon cycles and tides.

Research suggests however that there was not a battle happening at all on the rocks, and my observations were overly dramatic – what a shame! Apparently winkles are conditioned by where they ‘grew up’ and there are those who like to resume a ‘vertical’ position to wait for the incoming tide, and those who like to find a horizontal place on top of a flat rock. Therefore, I was witnessing a sorting process as they re-grouped into ‘horizontal’ and ‘vertical’ families. Sill impressive!

Interesting fact though: Winkles track the sun, and orientate themselves by means of a ‘light compass reaction’. As the tide recedes, most of their tracks, although leaving a tangled random pattern, are
towards the sun but after a time each animal reverses its direction to bring it it back roughly to where it started. The winkle trails then are a record of the path the winkle (or many winkles) took and the movement of the sun at that time – a kind of photographic diary!

Winkle tracks on a rock.

Reflective Moment

I invite you to take a moment this morning to be thankful for ‘unexpected magic’ and the turning over of a stone to find hidden wonderful and amazing treasures – both of a winkle and in each of us.

Being curious opens ourselves to wonders that are not immediately apparent. It really is worth sitting a while to watch, listen to and be with situations or people that we do immediately warm to or agree with. A winkle shell is so innocuous, tiny dull and unremarkable whorls of black, but turn them over and their pearly effervescence glistens with beauty.

And what about ourselves? Do we see the black winkle or the shimmering beautiful one? Which one do we share with others?

The Sound of the Sea Today

At this time of year the sound of the sea is a little like electrical static, and the individual waves seem to merge as a crackle and hiss with the grey skies and cold wind. There is a sense of life and energy fizzing along the whole beach, air and sea merging into one.

Enjoy the sights and sounds, appreciate being warm and dry but also feel positive towards the cold and wet, reaching out to the life under the waves…….the tide is coming in, the winkles are being vibrated by the waves, shaken, stirred, and then engulfed into their ‘other world’.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: