Sunset on the River
Jan Weeratunga, South Africa
Reds, pinks, oranges and gold’s catch the edge of the clouds and slowly turn the evening sky into a canvas waiting to be painted.
The sun’s last ray’s bounce off the cloud’s lining as it sinks gradually beyond the horizon.
Playfully the rays dance off the shimmering surface of the river,
Another fish jumps from the water,
Sending a concertina of ripples to the riverbank’s shoreline.
Golden waves approach as the setting sun sinks slowly below the horizon,
And small waves lap the side of our boat in an unending regular rhythm.
The repetitive knocking of the fender against the hull takes on the beat of the river,
Tapping the boat and shoreline alike,
It’s constant rhythm disturbed only by the wake of a passing boat or water bird landing on its surface.
Crickets join in with their own percussion as the melody is taken up by the surrounding birdlife,
Each chorus, their evening song as they head along the river bank in search of their nights roost.
Insects buzz over the surface, darting this way and that,
As swallows swoop swiftly, snapping them up in their gaping beaks.
Against the Western horizon a kingfisher dives into calmer waters bathed in a glorious warm orange light.
To the East the night’s first star is born,
It shimmers and shivers into life,
Just as the river serenely falls to sleep.
Peace is coming to the river as the ‘time between times’ –
That suspended few minutes of sunset –
Links all things in this world in a glorious golden moment before darkness descends.
Gradually the river slips into sleep
And the moon begins to rise and perform her dance across the waters glassy surface;
Replacing her brothers golden rays with her own silver ones.
Silver shimmering light bathes all beneath it,
Only disturbed by an occasional fish breaking free of its watery surrounds,
To be touched and blessed by the moonlight,
Before diving back down to the river bed.
The moon arches across the night sky,
Playing with the stars,
Until her brothers warming rays tell her it is once again time to allow the miracle of night and day to exchange places.
At first only a thin glowing red streak spreads along the tree line,
But quickly the shades of red are replaced by orange and then yellow,
And as the sun wakes from its nights slumber,
Dawn summons us from sleep,
And the tempo of waves against the boats hull increase with the blaze of activity that is engulfing the river,
And the throbbing beat signals a new day is beginning.
I came across these grab shells on a beach at the far end of Galway bay last year and there were hundreds of them, crabs molt their shells every time they have out grown them, some people think that this is at the turn of a new moon.
A Poem :
A Green Crab’s Shell
by Mark Doty
Not, exactly, green:
closer to bronze
preserved in kind brine,
from a Greco-Roman wreck,
patinated and oddly
muscular. We cannot
know what his fantastic
legs were like–
of armament, crowned
by the foreclaws’
gesture of menace
and power. A gull’s
gobbled the center,
leaving this chamber
–size of a demitasse–
open to reveal
a shocking, Giotto blue.
Though it smells
of seaweed and ruin,
this little traveling case
comes with such lavish lining!
the brilliant rinse
of summer’s firmament.
What color is
the underside of skin?
Not so bad, to die,
if we could be opened
if the smallest chambers
revealed some sky.
Adult Tanner crab mating
Crabs (and other crustaceans) cannot grow in a linear fashion like most animals. Because they have a hard outer shell (the exoskeleton) that does not grow, they must shed their shells, a process called molting. Just as we outgrow our clothing, crabs outgrow their shells. Prior to molting, a crab reabsorbs some of the calcium carbonate from the old exoskeleton, then secretes enzymes to separate the old shell from the underlying skin (or epidermis). Then, the epidermis secretes a new, soft, paper-like shell beneath the old one. This process can take several weeks.